Treating Bipolar Disorders

Do you or a loved one live with bipolar disorder? Discover bipolar disorder treatment options and how to choose what works best for you in managing the condition.

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What Doctors Consider in a Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis (3:55)

Are you or a loved one living with bipolar disorder? If so, you know that the manic-depressive illness – which can cause major shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and other disruptive symptoms – can significantly impact job performance, relationships, and daily living. If not properly managed, symptoms can worsen.

Fortunately, people with bipolar disorder can still lead normal lives when effectively treated. Discover the options and how to choose what works best for you in managing the condition.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder symptoms can be divided into two emotional states -- the highs of mania and the lows of depression. In the manic stage, people may feel agitated, restless and have racing thoughts, while the depressive stage brings on feelings of extreme sadness. The frequency of mood shifts depends on the individual. Rapid cycling, a severe type of bipolar, is defined as at least four episodes per year. A small number of people may have episodes within a week or even the same day, while others only experience a few episodes in their lifetime. People with mixed bipolar disorder may feel mania and depression at the same time.

Manic symptoms may include:

  • Exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
  • Fast talking and racing thoughts
  • Grandiose ideas about one's self
  • Impulsive and reckless behavior (wild shopping sprees, irresponsible driving choices, engaging in risky sexual activity, abusing drugs, etc.)
  • Extreme agitation and irritability
  • Restlessness and little to no sleep
  • Psychotic behaviors (such as delusions or hallucinations)

Depressive symptoms may include:

  • Hopelessness and sadness
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in daily matters
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

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