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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings that include episodes of mania and depression. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of elevated mood (mania or hypomania) and periods of depressive mood. These mood episodes can range from mild to severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months.

Manic Episode: During a manic episode, individuals may experience an elevated or irritable mood, increased energy and activity levels, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, impulsivity, and engaging in risky behaviors. Manic episodes can be severe and may impair judgement and functioning.

Hypomanic Episode: Hypomania is a milder form of mania. Individuals may feel more energetic, productive, and euphoric. They may have increased creativity, engage in goal-directed activities, and require less sleep. However, hypomanic episodes are less severe and do not typically lead to significant impairment or require hospitalization.

Depressive Episode: During a depressive episode, individuals experience persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue or loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Bipolar disorder is classified into several types:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: This involves at least one manic episode that may be followed by major depressive episodes or hypomanic episodes.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: This involves at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, but no full-blown manic episodes.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: This is a milder form of bipolar disorder characterized by numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms that persist for at least two years.

Bipolar disorder is a complex condition, and the specific symptoms and their severity can vary from person to person. It often requires long-term management and treatment, including mood stabilizers, psychotherapy, and lifestyle adjustments.

If you suspect you or someone you know may have bipolar disorder, it’s important to consult a mental health professional for a proper diagnosis and to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Book your appointment.

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