What is Bipolar Disorder?
Soul to Sole
About Bipolar Disorder
Everyone has times when they feel sadness, have trouble coping, or feel overwhelmed. With bipolar disorder, these mood shifts are more severe, and differ from the ups and downs that most people face. These symptoms can end in damaged relationships, poor work or school performance, even to the point of suicide or dangerous behaviors. Bipolar disorder has one name, but it looks very different from person to person. Some go very quickly from feeling euphoric or irritable to feeling extremely sad and hopeless. Some experience less severe shifts in mood, involving a milder form of mania known as hypomania. For some, depression and mania occur at the same time in what is know as a mixed episode. This is a tumultuous period, a chaotic experience of feeling wildly energetic but sad and hopeless at the same time.
Usually, bipolar individuals experience some periods of “normal” mood between episodes – called euthymia – when they are neither manic or depressed. Some return to a fully functional level during this time, while others continue to experience symptoms such as low mood, anxiety, or trouble sleeping.
Like other biological illnesses such as diabetes, bipolar disorder is a life-long illness that requires constant management with medication and other therapies. When treated effectively, bipolar individuals can lead healthy productive lives. Although there is no cure, there is hope.
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