What Is Bipolar? PDF  | Print |  E-mail

What is bipolar? "Bipolar" refers to a disorder known as manic depressive disorder and is a condition that causes sporadic shifts in moods from periods of mania to periods of depression. In the phases of depression an individual will normally feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and despair. In the manic phase the individual will feel deliriously happy and full of vitality. The extent of these mood swings will vary among individuals. Some people may experience fluctuations in mood frequently in different periods throughout a single day while others may not have mood shifts very often. It is possible for a sufferer to experience both feelings of mania and depression simultaneously.

The condition is one that may affect the individual for life however, there are treatments that can help to make living with the condition more bearable. The treatment plan will normally include medications, like anti depressants and occasional or frequent psychological counselling. The disease is categorized into subtypes based on the symptoms that the individual experiences.

What Is Bipolar?


Bipolar I disorder: This is the most severe form of Bipolar disease and may affect the individual's ability to function in normal situations. The periods of mania tend to be very extreme.

Bipolar II disorder will affect mood patterns but without seriously causing disruption to an individual's regular routine. The presence of hypomania a less severe form of mania and may affect the individual occasionally as well as bouts of depression that will manifest more often than hypomania.

Cyclothymia is the least severe form of the disease. Individuals will experience periods of depression and hypomania but not so much that it disrupts regular activities.

Symptoms of Bipolar disorder

The symptoms are numerous and will manifest differently among individuals. There is a tendency for people to experience more cases of depression than mania or vice a versa. This means that while some will complain more about being depressed frequently others may be plagued by excessive mania. When both hypomania and depression occur at the same time it is considered a mixed episode.

Bipolar Disorder: Mania -Symptoms

  • Hyperactivity
  • Extreme aggression
  • Extreme happiness/Euphoria
  • Reduced ability to make proper judgements
  • Uncontrolled thought patterns
  • Quickening of speech patterns
  • Increase in self-esteem
  • Agitation
  • Increased competitive drive
  • Overspending
  • Partaking in Risky Behaviour
  • Increase in sex drive
  • Extreme optimism
  • Sleeping less
  • Indulgence in alcohol or drugs

Now you know the answer to the question, "What is bipolar?"