Bipolar Disorder

According to the World Health Organization, bipolar disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world. The condition affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans—about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older.

There are three types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode):The classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Bipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.
  • Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression):In Bipolar II disorder, the person doesn’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.
  • Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression):Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder. It also consists of cyclical mood swings, but the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder symptoms fall into three groups: mania, depression and hypomania.

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode:

  • A long period of feeling overly happy
  • Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling jumpy or wired
  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted
  • Increasing goal-oriented activities, such as starting new projects
  • Being restless
  • Sleeping little
  • Having an unrealistic belief in one's abilities
  • Behaving impulsively and taking part in pleasurable, high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex and risky business investments.

Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode:

  • A long period of feeling worried or empty
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Feeling tired or slowed down
  • Having problems concentrating, remembering and making decisions
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Chang in eating, sleeping or other habits
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.

Symptoms of hypomania or hypomanic episode:

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. People experiencing hypomania are able to carry on with their day-to-day lives and they never lose touch with reality. It often escalates to full-blown mania or is followed by a major depressive episode. Symptoms of hypomania include:

  • Feeling euphoric, energetic and productive
  • Seeming unusually happy to others