Just what is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder or manic-depressive disorder, which is also referred to as bipolar affective disorder or manic
depression, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one
or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive
episodes. The elevated moods are clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who
experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes, or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which
features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These episodes are usually separated by periods
of "normal" mood; but, in some individuals, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, which is known as rapid
cycling. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to such psychotic symptoms as delusions and hallucinations. The
disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and other types, based on the nature and
severity of mood episodes experienced; the range is often described as the bipolar spectrum.
Data from the United States on lifetime prevalence varies; but it indicates a rate of around 1% for bipolar I,
0.5%-1% for bipolar II or cyclothymia, and 2%-5% for subthreshold cases meeting some, but not all, criteria. The
onset of full symptoms generally occurs in late adolescence or young adulthood. Diagnosis is based on the person's
self-reported experiences, as well as observed behavior. Episodes of abnormality are associated with distress and
disruption and an elevated risk of suicide, especially during depressive episodes. In some cases, it can be a
devastating long-lasting disorder. In others, it has also been associated with creativity, goal striving, and
positive achievements. There is significant evidence to suggest that many people with creative talents have also
suffered from some form of bipolar disorder.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bipolar Disorder in the News