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Bipolar I Disorder

bipolar i disorder

What Is Bipolar I Disorder?

Bipolar I disorder (pronounced ‘bi-po-lar one’ and also known as manic-depressive disorder) is a form of mental illness. A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.

Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. Often, there is a pattern of cycling between mania and depression. (This is where the term ‘manic depression’ comes from.) In between episodes of mania and depression, many people with bipolar I disorder can live normal lives.

Who Is at Risk for Bipolar I Disorder?

Virtually anyone can develop bipolar I disorder. About 2.5% of the U.S. population suffers from bipolar disorder -- almost 6 million people.

Most people are in their teens or early 20s when symptoms first start. Nearly everyone with bipolar I disorder develops it before age 50. People with an immediate family member with bipolar are at higher risk.

What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar I Disorder?

During a manic episode, elevated mood can manifest itself as either euphoria (feeling ‘high’) or as irritability.

Abnormal behavior during manic episodes includes:

• Flying suddenly from one idea to the next

• Rapid, ‘pressured’ speech

• Increased energy, with hyperactivity and decreased need for sleep

• Inflated self-image

• Excessive spending

People in manic episodes may spend money far beyond their means, pursue grandiose, unrealistic plans. In severe manic episodes, a person loses touch with reality. They may become delusional and behave bizarrely.

Untreated, an episode of mania can last anywhere from a few days to several years. Most commonly, symptoms continue for a few weeks to a few months. Depression may follow shortly after, or not appear for weeks or months.

Many people with bipolar I disorder experience long periods without symptoms in between episodes. A minority have rapid-cycling symptoms of mania and depression -- even alternating between mania and depression in the same day.

Depressive episodes in bipolar disorder are similar to ‘regular’ clinical depression, with depressed mood, loss of pleasure, low energy and activity, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide. Depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder can last weeks or even years.

Can Bipolar I Disorder Be Prevented?

The causes of bipolar disorder are not well understood. It's not known if bipolar I disorder can be prevented entirely.

It is possible to prevent some episodes of mania or depression once bipolar disorder has developed. Regular therapy sessions with a psychologist or social worker can stabilize mood, leading to fewer hospitalizations and feeling better overall. Taking medicine on a regular basis also leads to fewer manic or depressive episodes.

How Is Bipolar I Disorder Different From Other Types of Bipolar Disorder?

People with bipolar I disorder experience true mania -- the often severe abnormally elevated mood and behavior described above. These manic symptoms can lead to serious disruptions in life (for example, spending the family fortune).

bipolar i disorder

In bipolar II disorder, the symptoms of elevated mood never reach full-on mania. They often pass for extreme cheerfulness, even making someone a lot of fun to be around -- the ‘life of the party.’ This less-severe mania is called hypomania.

Source: webmd.com

Other links:

What is Bipolar disorder?

Symptoms & Types of Bipolar Disorder

What is Stress? (part1)

What is stress? (Part 2)

Stress Management -Causes of Stress

Stress Management - Effects of Stress

Stress Management - Measuring Stress

Caregiving and stress

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