Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by severe fluctuations in an individual's mood and energy level accompanied by periods of intense mania or hypomania. There are two forms of bipolar disorder, bipolar I and bipolar II.
Bipolar I results in severe manic episodes while bipolar II results in hypomanic episodes. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 1% of the population. The condition affects males and females, but bipolar II is more common with females. Symptoms related to bipolar disorder generally surface during adolescence, early teenage years or early adulthood.
It's often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can coincide with those of depression. Individuals with a family history of bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing the condition. Many of those affected have suicidal tendancies, with about 50% of those diagnosed attempting suicide at least once.
Professional treatment such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health counselor is often recommended to individuals experiencing a bipolar disorder due to the severity of the symptoms. Medication such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and antidepressants help control symptoms.
Self care, including taking time for yourself, getting physical activity, and eating well can lessen the symptoms for people experiencing mood disorders. Read more about self-care and alternative treatments.
Click here to view MDAM's educational brochure on bipolar illness.
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