Bipolar/Manic Depressive Disorder Info

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Bipolar/Manic Depressive Disorder Info Empty Bipolar/Manic Depressive Disorder Info

Post  counselor on Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:34 pm

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental disorder involving episodes of mania and depression. The person's mood usually swings from overly "high" and irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, with periods of normal mood in between.

Bipolar disorder typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and continues throughout life. It is often not recognized as an illness, and people who have it may suffer needlessly for years or even decades.

Effective treatments are available that greatly alleviate the suffering caused by bipolar disorder and can usually prevent its devastating complications. These include marital break-ups, job loss, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide.

Manic-depressive illness has a devastating impact on many people.

At least 2 million Americans suffer from manic-depressive illness. For those afflicted with the illness, it is extremely distressing and disruptive.

Like other serious illnesses, bipolar disorder is also hard on spouses, family members, friends, and employers.

Family members of people with bipolar disorder often have to cope with serious behavioral problems (such as wild spending sprees) and the lasting consequences of these behaviors.

Bipolar disorder tends to run in families and is believed to be inherited in many cases. Despite vigorous research efforts, a specific genetic defect associated with the disease has not yet been detected.

Bipolar illness has been diagnosed in children under age 12, although it is not common in this age bracket. It can be confused with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, so careful diagnosis is necessary.

The following list of symptoms is taken from the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance of Oklahoma website.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar disorder differs significantly from clinical depression, although the symptoms for the depressive phase of the illness are similar. Most people who have bipolar disorder talk about experiencing "highs" and "lows" – the highs are periods of mania, the lows periods of depression. These swings can be severe, ranging from extreme energy to deep despair. The severity of the mood swings and the way they disrupt normal life activities distinguish bipolar mood episodes from ordinary mood changes.

Symptoms of mania - the "highs" of bipolar disorder

• Increased physical and mental activity and energy
• Heightened mood, exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
• Excessive irritability, aggressive behavior
• Decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue
• Grandiose delusions, inflated sense of self-importance
• Racing speech, racing thoughts, flight of ideas
• Impulsiveness, poor judgment, distractibility
• Reckless behavior
• In the most severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

Symptoms of depression - the "lows" of bipolar disorder

• Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
• Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
• Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
• Pessimism, indifference
• Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
• Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
• Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
• Unexplained aches and pains
• Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

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