Bipolar Disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is characterized by an alternating pattern of emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression).
Periods of mania and depression are called episodes, which can last for days, months or, sometimes, even years.
The intensity of the associated signs and symptoms during an episode varies. There may be periods in between when you feel normal. Without treatment, most people will have more frequent episodes.
The incidence of Bipolar Disorder is approximately 1% of the population. Genetics may play a role as more than two-thirds of people affected have at least one relative with the disorder.
Onset is usually in late adolescence or early adulthood, although it can appear in childhood or later in life. The risks of women and men getting Bipolar Disorder are equal but with some differences. Men are more likely to start with a manic episode, whereas a woman´s first episode is usually a depressive one.
Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
What you experience during an episode varies from person to person. The severity of these episode can also vary. Often these symptoms may impair your ability to function normally in relationships, social situations or at work.
Common signs and symptoms for mania and depression include:
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder is a lifelong illness that comes and goes. While there is no known cure, treatment can bring control of symptoms and hence improve your quality of life. Medication and psychotheraphy are the main treatments for Bipolar Disorder. Occasionally, doctors use electroconvulsive theraphy (ECT).