Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that has periods of depression and periods of mania.
Depression is feeling so sad you can’t do daily activities or don’t want to do things you used to enjoy.
Mania is a state in which you have abnormally high energy and confidence, are easily distracted, and make risky decisions.
There are 2 types of bipolar disorder, bipolar 1 and bipolar 2.
If you have bipolar 1 disorder, you have:
If you have bipolar 2 disorder, you have:
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes bipolar disorder. Your genes (genetic information you get from your parents and grandparents) may play a role.
Periods of mania (manic episodes) can be triggered by:
Higher or lower levels of certain chemicals (neurotransmitters) in a person’s body—neurotransmitters are chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine that nerve cells use to send messages in the brain and body
Brain tumors or other brain disorders
A stressful event
Drugs, such as cocaine
Other health problems, such as thyroid problems
Periods (episodes) of depression or mania come and go. In between, your mood may be normal. Episodes of depression and mania can last a few weeks or up to 6 months.
Feeling very confident and thinking you're your best self
Having lots of energy
Getting irritated easily
Sleeping less than usual
Getting distracted easily and changing from one activity to another
Taking part in risky activities, such as gambling or sex, without thinking about the effects
Sometimes seeing and hearing things that aren’t real
People with severe mania (manic psychosis) may have symptoms like:
People with severe mania need to go to the hospital right away.
Doctors will suspect bipolar disorder based on the pattern of your symptoms. When you have mania, you may not be able to accurately report your symptoms because you don't think anything is wrong with you. So doctors may ask for information from family members.
Doctors may also do blood or urine tests to check if other medicines or health problems could be causing your symptoms.
In electroconvulsive therapy, your doctor will put you to sleep with medicines and then send an electric current through your brain. Doctors don't know why, but the electric current often helps depression go away.
If you have severe mania or depression or are taking risks that could result in serious problems, doctors may treat you in the hospital.
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