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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental disorder upon which a person can switch moods very quickly. One minute they may be on cloud nine and the next second they can become suicidal. This is an extremely serious disorder because the brain is switching emotions very quickly and it can cause a person who is in a manic phase to do wild risky things like shopping sprees, having multiple sexual partners, making large purchases and much more. Studies have not indicated how mania occurs, but medical doctors and researchers believe that mania can be a result of life changes, medications such as antidepressants or steroids, periods of sleeplessness or recreational drug use. 

The cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but it generally manifests between the ages of 15-25, and if the problem is not dealt with, it can become progressively worse. This disorder is extremely hard to diagnose because most people only go in to get treated when they are feeling depressed. If there is not a full evaluation done, then it is easy to confuse bipolar disorder with major depression and they are often given antidepressants. Anti-depressants can generally worsen the affects of bipolar disorder; this is why a proper diagnosis is required.  If an individual is only going to the doctor at specific moments, there is no distinct way to distinguish between bipolar disorder and depression. Most bipolar cases can take years before there is a proper diagnosis.

 There are different types of Bipolar disorder: type I, II and cyclothymia. Bipolar I is characterized as a person who has  had at least one manic episode and periods of major depression.  Mania can exists for days or months at a time. The most common symptoms of mania include the following:
  • Loss of concentration
  • Lake of sleep
  • Poor judgment
  • Out of control temper
  • Lack of self control
  • Extremely upbeat personality
Those with Bipolar II have never had full mania. Instead they experience periods of high energy levels and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as mania (called hypomania). These periods alternate with episodes of depression. In the past, Bipolar I  was suggested to be more dangerous, but new studies suggest that because of the extreme depression that affects people who have Bipolar II more often, suicide is a major concern. 
A person with Bipolar I also suffers from depression, similar to a person with Bipolar II, but not as often. This means that the symptoms for depression are extremely similar in both cases. These symptoms may include:
· Lack of energy
· Significant change in eating habits
· Isolation
· Constant sadness
· Uncontrollable crying
· Loss of concentration
· Stop being involved in their regular activities
·Feelings of guilt and  having low self-worth
· Suicidal thoughts and tendencies

 SIDE NOTE: Another form of bipolar disorder that is not as serious is referred to as cyclothymia involves less severe mood swings. People with this form alternate between hypomania and mild depression. Cyclothymia is less likely to happen at a reoccurring rate. As a result, people with cyclothymia may be able to live a more normal life, without medication.


This is only a brief overview of what Bipolar disorder is. This is a serious mental condition that has an extremely high risks for suicide  especially because many mentally ill patients are prone to become heavily involved in drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you know may be suffering from this disorder, contact your nearest health provider. 

Written By: Te-Shandra Haskett, MBA

 "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)."