Bipolar Disorder: Everything You Need To Know

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Periods of severe mood abnormalities, or episodes, characterize bipolar disorder, a mental health illness. A person with bipolar disorder has changes in mood, thinking, and behavior. Since it is a chronic disorder, it will always exist. With the right care, however, symptoms are manageable.

Bipolar I and II are the two primary forms of bipolar disorders. Bipolar I disorder is characterized by periods of extreme mania and often depression, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Hypomania is a less severe type of mania associated with bipolar II disease.

Signs and symptoms

There are many symptom parallels between the two forms of bipolar illness, despite the huge differences in mania.

Episodes of Depression

Major depressive episodes (one or more) are common in bipolar I disorder, however they are not necessary. Major depressive episodes occur in bipolar II disorder in one or more cases. Euthymia, a word used to characterize emotionally stable intervals, may occur throughout both diseases.

Typical signs of a serious depressive episode include:

Hypersomnia or insomnia

Unexpected or excessive tears

extreme exhaustion

loss of enthusiasm for activities the patient finds enjoyable in euthanasia

recurring suicidal or fatal ideas 

Manic episodes

At least seven days pass between manic episodes. A person going through a manic episode might feel like this:

a noticeable spike in energy euphoric feelings

Delusions or hallucinations

heightened lust for sex

Reduced necessity for sleep

People may act recklessly during a manic episode, such as engaging in unsafe sexual activity, overspending, or making snap decisions.


While the symptoms of a hypomanic episode may resemble those of a manic episode, the person’s functionality won’t be significantly compromised. Many people who suffer from bipolar II-related hypomania find that their energy levels are higher and their sleep needs are lower.

A hypomanic episode does not progress to the point where a person requires hospitalization, unlike a manic episode—particularly if the manic episode is causing harm to himself or others.

Bipolar Disorder


Genetics is thought to be a significant factor in bipolar illness, even if the precise reason is yet unknown. Studies on twins when one or both had a bipolar I diagnosis provide some evidence for this. Compared to fewer than 10% of fraternal twins (who do not share all of the same genes), bipolar illness was discovered in 40% of identical twins (those with identical gene sets).

Neurotransmitter imbalances, anomalies in a person’s brain circuitry, and environmental variables including maltreatment or trauma throughout childhood are other contributing causes.


Regardless of the type, a mental health professional must rule out other conditions that may present with similar symptoms when diagnosing bipolar disorder. These conditions include schizophrenia, delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and other specified or unspecified schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

A well-informed diagnosis would probably involve certain tests to rule out any other medical causes for the bipolar symptoms. A drug screen, imaging tests (brain CT scan or MRI), electroencephalograms (EEG), and a full range of diagnostic blood tests may be necessary for this. 


Treatment for bipolar I disorder is quite specific to each patient and depends on the kinds and levels of symptoms they are exhibiting.

While additional medicines, such the following, are frequently utilized, mood stabilizers form the basis of the therapy procedure.

anticonvulsant medication that stabilizes mood fluctuations.

Antidepressants (less frequently used since they might precipitate a manic episode) and antipsychotics (to manage psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations) as well as the more recent atypical antipsychotics, which have mood-stabilizing effects of their own

Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) may be used to treat severe depression or manic episodes in more severe situations. 

Bipolar II is sometimes referred to as “milder” than bipolar I disorder since the hypomania that characterizes the condition is not as severe as the mania that characterizes bipolar I disorder; however, this is not entirely true. Although individuals with bipolar I may have more severe symptoms during manic episodes, hypomania remains a serious disorder that can have life-altering effects and should be appropriately treated.

Furthermore, studies indicate that bipolar II illness is characterized by more intense and prolonged depressive episodes. In actuality, individuals with bipolar II have a decreasing likelihood of ever fully recovering between episodes as time goes on.

All forms of bipolar illnesses should be properly treated, and you should collaborate closely with your medical team to determine the most effective course of action.

Children with Bipolar Disorder

Children of any age can suffer from bipolar illness.12 It’s critical that parents and other caregivers recognize the distinctive symptoms and pay attention to a child’s functioning, emotions, and any family history of the illness. An early diagnosis facilitates the establishment of a more effective symptom management treatment strategy.

Getting By

Like many other mental health issues, bipolar disorder is stigmatized in society, which may make managing the illness more challenging for you or a loved one. Recognize that ignorance frequently leads to the development of stigma.

Getting expert care and connecting with people who share your experience are the greatest ways to manage bipolar disorder, whether or not you are explicitly stigmatized as a person with the illness. To improve your ability to cope, you may also battle stigma and educate yourself on your rights. 

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