Do you or anyone you know have rapid mood changes from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows?

Bipolar disorder may be to blame.

We Know: All About Bipolar Disorder

What does bipolar mean?

Bipolar refers to a disorder that causes radical shifts in mood and energy level from extreme highs or manic episodes to extreme lows or depressive episodes.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

The symptoms of bipolar disorder are described as "dramatic mood swings," by the National Institute of Mental Health. A manic episode can involve restlessness, irritability, aggressiveness, lack of judgment, lack of or inability to sleep and euphoria. The symptoms of a depressive episode can include anxiousness, hopelessness, lack of energy, chronic pain, thoughts of suicide and oversleeping.

What causes bipolar disorder?

There are ongoing studies to answer this question. However, scientists believe that bipolar disorder can run in families and is caused by factors such as genetics and brain function.

How can bipolar disorder be treated?

Bipolar disorder is usually treated with prescription medications that help to stabilize your moods. Your psychiatrist may prescribe Lithium or Depakote to keep the manic episodes under control,  while prescribing Zyprexa to keep the depressive episodes at bay. Your doctor will discuss any possible drug interactions with you. By taking a combination of drug therapies, the bipolar disorder is balanced out, allowing you to live your life with the normal ups and downs, without having to experience the radical ends of the emotional spectrum.

What is the best way to deal with bipolar sufferers who experience suicidal thoughts?

If someone you know exhibits signs of contemplating suicide such as talking about being a burden, wanting to die or putting themselves in dangerous situations, contact a medical facility right away. Never leave a suicidal person alone and make sure dangerous items like medications and weapons are not close by.

Can bipolar disorder express itself concurrently with other illnesses?

Yes. Bipolar disorder very often occurs along with other problems like alcohol and drug abuse. Other disorders are also likely to be present like post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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