Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder causes a person to experience unusual shifts in mood and energy levels. The condition is hereditary but does not impact all family members within a bloodline.
Individuals with bipolar disorder struggle with extreme levels of manic and depressive episodes. In a state of mania, they feel overly happy and can become easily irritable. Quick speech, lack of focus, and reduced sleep without tiring are common behavioral changes. In addition, manic episodes cause a person to behave impulsively and participate in high-risk behaviors they deem pleasurable.
When depressed, a person loses interest in activities, and feelings of sadness and hopelessness are prolonged. Symptoms of a depressive episode consist of restlessness, a change in eating habits, forgetfulness, and problems making decisions. It is not uncommon for a bipolar person to consider attempting suicide.
Fortunately, the condition can be managed with proper medication and psychotherapy. A doctor can prescribe medications, ranging from mood stabilizers to antidepressants, to restore balance. Additionally, a medical professional can suggest various forms of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral and family-focused therapies, to change negative thought patterns and create a supportive environment.