Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder or manic depression is a mostly medical illness that causes extreme shifts in mood and energy that can last for days to months. It often begins in adolescence or early adulthood; is chronic, and usually a life long condition. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is controversial in children and their symptoms do not usually continue into adulthood.

Symptoms of mania may include: either an elated mood or an irritable and angry mood; racing thoughts; more rapid speech than normal, impulsive activity like spending sprees, addictive behavior, grandiose plans and decreased sleep without experiencing fatigue.

Depression is the other phase of bipolar disorder. Depressive symptoms include: loss of energy, sadness, restlessness and irritability; an inability to concentrate; problems making decisions; increased feelings of worry and anxiety; thoughts of suicide; less interest or participation in normally enjoyable activities; an increase or decrease in sleeping or eating.

Treatment of bipolar disorder includes psychotherapy and the use of mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications, antidepressants and behavior therapy.