Bipolar Disorder (Mania)

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of bipolar disorder depend upon whether the sufferer is experiencing a depressive or manic episode. A person must have experienced at least one manic episode to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Symptoms and signs of manic episodes include elevated or expansive mood, rushed or pressured speech, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, poor judgment, increased goal-directed activity, impulsivity, grandiose thoughts (thinking one has superpowers or special abilities), and tangential speech (switching topics frequently).

Quick GuideBipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Testing for Bipolar Depression

Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Testing for Bipolar Depression

Bipolar disorder facts

  • Bipolar disorder, previously called manic depression or bipolar I disorder, involves mood swings with at least one episode of mania and may also include repeated episodes of depression.
  • Bipolar disorder afflicts up to 4 million people in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of disability worldwide.
  • The suicide rate for people with bipolar disorder is 60 times higher than in the general public.
  • Bipolar disorder was conceptualized by Emil Kraeplin more than 100 years ago, but its symptoms were first described as long ago as 200 A.D.
  • Bipolar disorder has a number of types, including bipolar I and bipolar II disorder based on the severity of symptoms, and may be described as mixed or rapid cycling based on the duration and frequency of episodes.
  • As with most other mental illnesses, bipolar disorder is not directly inherited from one generation to another genetically but is thought to be due to a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental risk factors.
  • The adolescent with bipolar disorder is more likely to have depression and mixed episodes, with rapid changes in mood.
  • Symptoms of bipolar disorder in women tend to include more depression and anxiety as well as a rapid-cycling pattern compared to symptoms in men.
  • Since there is no one test that definitively determines that someone has bipolar disorder, health-care professionals diagnose this disease by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information in addition to performing physical and mental-health assessments.
  • Treatment of bipolar disorder with medications tends to relieve already existing symptoms of mania or depression and prevent symptoms from returning.
  • Talk therapy (psychotherapy) is an important part of helping people with bipolar disorder achieve the highest level of functioning possible.
  • When treating bipolar disorder sufferers who are pregnant or nursing, health-care professionals take great care to balance the need to maintain the person's stable mood and behavior while minimizing the risks that medications used to treat this disorder may present.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/8/2016

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