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Bipolar Disorder

***If you are taking Zyprexa to treat bipolar, click here. Zyprexa has been linked to the development of diabetes and is speculated in some deaths.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is the medical name for Manic Depression. Bipolar disorder is characterized by moods that swing between alternating between periods of mania (exaggerated euphoria) and depression. Bipolar Disorder has also been called Bipolar Affective Disorder and Manic-Depressive Illness.

Bipolar patients often experience dreams of death at the low point of their depression. These dreams are soon followed by an upward mood change.

There are two main types of Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II.

Bipolar I is the "classic" form of Bipolar Disorder. It is characterized by widely spaced, long-lasting bouts of mania followed by long-lasting bouts of depression. Sometimes the person may experience or long-lasting bouts of depression followed by long lasting bouts of mania. Between bipolar episodes, the individual often experiences the normal range of moods.

In most cases of bipolar disorder I, the depressive phases far outnumber manic phases, and the cycles of mania and depression are not regular or predictable.

Bipolar II is characterized by depressive episodes with occasional bouts of hypomania (low-grade manic symptoms). Individuals with Bipolar II do not experience full-blown manic phases.

Bipolar disorder can be severe and long-term, or it can be mild with infrequent episodes.

What is Mania?

Manic episodes are distinguished by feelings of euphoric happiness, rapid speech, disconnected thoughts, grandiose ideas, hallucinations, irritability, and high levels of energy. A manic episode usually comes on suddenly, and it often, but not always, follows a period of severe depression. A manic episode can last anywhere from a week to several months.

Symptoms of Bipolar disorder

There are many symptoms associated with bipolar disorder. Some of the symptoms are: sad mood, fatigue or loss of energy, insomnia, excessive sleeping, or shallow, inefficient sleep patterns with frequent awakenings, weight gain or loss, diminished ability to concentrate or make decisions, physical agitation or markedly sedentary behavior, feelings of guilt, pessimism, helplessness and low self-esteem, loss of interest or pleasure in life and thoughts of or attempts at suicide. These symptoms may occur spontaneously without a trigger and may develop gradually.

Bipolar Statistics

  • An estimated 15% to 20% of patients who suffer from bipolar disorder and who do not receive medical attention commit suicide.
  • Affects men and women in approximately equal numbers.
  • Affects approximately 1% of the adult population of the United States
  • A bipolar patient averages 8 to 10 manic or depressive episodes over a lifetime
  • Age 40 is another peak onset period for women
  • The National Institute of Mental Health has estimated that the disorder cost the country $45 billion in 1991.
  • Close to 60% of all manic patients experience feelings of omnipotence, sometimes believing that they are godlike or have celebrity status.

Depression and Bipolar Support Groups


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