Bipolar disorder is a serious brain illness. It is also called manic-depressive illness. People with bipolar disorder go through unusual mood changes. Sometimes they feel very happy and “up” and are much more active than usual. This is called mania. And sometimes people with bipolar disorder feel very sad and “down” and are much less active. This is called depression. Bipolar disorder can also cause changes in energy and behavior.
Bipolar disorder is not the same as the normal ups and downs everyone goes through. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful than that. They can damage relationships and make it hard to go to school or keep a job. They can also be dangerous. Some people with bipolar disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.
Anyone can develop bipolar disorder. It often starts in a person’s late teen or early adult years. But children and adults can have bipolar disorder too. The illness usually lasts a lifetime. (sourced nimh.nih.gov, for the booklet, click here)
Several factors may contribute to bipolar disorder including genes, because the illness runs in families and abnormal brain structure and brain function. The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t always clear. Scientists are studying it and research may help doctors predict whether a person will get bipolar disorder. One day, it may also help doctors prevent the illness in some people.
A person may be having an episode of bipolar disorder if he or she has a number of manic or depressive symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least one or two weeks. Sometimes symptoms are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school, or home.
Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include:
There is no cure for bipolar disorder. But proper treatment helps most people with bipolar disorder gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms. This is also true for people with the most severe forms of the illness.
Because bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, people with the disorder need long-term treatment to keep control of bipolar symptoms. Treatment for bipolar disorder includes medication and psychotherapy. (sourced from womenshealth.gov)
If your life is being impacted by bipolar disorder, EAP can help you. You can call toll-free 24 hours a day, 1.800.322.5327 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bipolar Disorder-National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Understanding Bipolar and Recovery-NAMI
Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens-NIMH
Educating the Child with Bipolar Disorder
Treatment of Children with Bipolar Disorder
Kids and Mood Disorders