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Bipolar Disorder 

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes changes in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function.

Thinking Man

People with bipolar disorder experience intense emotional states that typically occur during distinct periods of days to weeks, called mood episodes. These mood episodes are categorized as manic/hypomanic (abnormally happy or irritable mood) or depressive (sad mood). People with bipolar disorder generally have periods of neutral mood as well. When treated, people with bipolar disorder can lead full and productive lives.

People without bipolar disorder experience mood fluctuations as well. However, these mood changes typically last hours rather than days. Also, these changes are not usually accompanied by the extreme degree of behavior change or difficulty with daily routines and social interactions that people with bipolar

disorder demonstrate during mood episodes. Bipolar disorder can disrupt a person’s relationships with loved ones and cause difficulty in working or going to school.

Bipolar disorder is a category that includes three different diagnoses: bipolar, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder.

Bipolar disorder commonly runs in families: 80 to 90 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder have a relative with bipolar disorder or depression. Environmental factors such as stress, sleep disruption, and drugs and alcohol may trigger mood episodes in vulnerable people. Though the specific causes of bipolar disorder within the brain are unclear, an imbalance of brain chemicals is believed to lead to dysregulated brain activity. The average age of onset is 25 years old.

Bipolar disorder symptoms commonly improve with treatment. Medication is the cornerstone of bipolar disorder treatment, though talk therapy (psychotherapy) can help many patients learn about their illness and adhere to medications, preventing future mood episodes.

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