This brochure describes the signs and symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness), a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
Bipolar is a complex illness. There are many different symptoms -- and several different types -- of bipolar disorder. The primary symptoms of the disorder are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme mood swings from high to low, and from low to high. Highs are periods of mania, while lows are periods of depression. The mood swings may.
The natural course of bipolar disorder is characterized by high rates of relapse and recurrence, 19 at rates of 80 to 90 percent, 84 at an average of 0.6 episodes per year over a five-year period. 85 In prospective outcome studies extending up to four years, less than half of patients followed after an initial manic episode had sustained a good.
Bipolar disorder is commonly diagnosed during adolescence or early adulthood, but onset can occur throughout the life cycle. The disorder can be difficult to distinguish from unipolar depression and the average delay in diagnosis is 5–10 years after symptoms begin.