Getting to know bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

People with bipolar disorder experience periods of time with high intense emotion, changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, and unusual behaviors, according to the the National Institute of Mental Health. These periods are called “mood episodes.”

People having a mood episode can have a manic or depressive episode. A manic episode can have someone feeling elated, become more active than usual, talk fast about many different things and do risky things, such as spend too much money or have reckless sex.

A depressive episode can have someone feeling sad and hopeless, have little energy, feel worried and even have suicidal feelings.

While bipolar disorder can be challenging, proper treatment can help people live healthy and productive lives. An effective treatment plan usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Different medications can help manage the different aspects of bipolar disorder. Someone may have to try different medications until they find one that works for them. Medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and antidepressants.

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About Sara Brown

Sara Brown is the Sampan health editor.

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