What is bipolar disorder? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment – Forbes Health

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition characterized by severe mood swings large enough to impair daily life. The disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults.

Formerly called manic depression or manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder causes episodes of mania (periods of high or irritable mood), hypomania, and sometimes depression. There are two types of bipolar disorder, bipolar 1 and bipolar 2, says Jasmine Kaur, MD, psychiatrist at Mindpath Health in San Jose, California. Here is an overview of the difference between the two types:

Bipolar 1: People with bipolar 1 disorder have had at least one manic episode in their lifetime (not due to the effects of medications, substances, or medical conditions). Dr. Kaur defines a manic episode as a period of “euphoric or very irritable mood” that persists for at least seven days. During this time, a person may also experience symptoms such as racing thoughts, decreased sleep needs, and high-risk behaviors, such as sexual promiscuity and out-of-control spending, adds Dr. Kaur.

Sometimes people with bipolar 1 experience manic episodes that involve paranoid or delusional thoughts. Although people with bipolar 1 disorder may also experience depressive episodes, experience of depressive episodes is not required for diagnosis.

Bipolar 2: People with bipolar 2 disorder have experienced at least one depressive episode and one hypomanic episode in their lifetime. Hypomanic episodes are similar to manic episodes, Dr. Kaur says, although they’re less severe, have less impact on daily life, and don’t require hospitalization like manic episodes might, she notes. .

Hypomanic symptoms must last four days to be diagnosed and can also include an irritable or expansive mood, but usually do not involve paranoid or delusional thoughts. The depressive component of bipolar 2 is defined as depressed mood for at least two weeks and may include symptoms such as persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities they enjoyed, changes in appetite and sleep patterns. , insomnia and suicidal thoughts.

Contact an advisor

If you are in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on 988 or message its live online chat service for immediate assistance from a trained counsellor. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

What is bipolar disorder? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment – Forbes Health

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