What is Bipolar Disorder?
Everyone has ups and downs. But those with bipolar disorder have extreme swings in mood, energy and activity level, alternating between a manic—or high—stage and a depressive—or low—one.
Bipolar disorder can occur at any time, though the typical age of onset is 25. Research suggests a genetic link with bipolar disorder. Some studies have shown differences in the brains of those with bipolar disorder.
Seniors may comprise as much as 10 percent of the population with bipolar disorder, a figure that is only increasing. One research study predicted the rate of psychiatric illness in those over 65 would double by 2030.
There are a number of forms of the disorder. Bipolar I disorder has manic episodes that last longer than a week and are so severe that the person typically needs hospital care. Depressive episodes last at least two weeks. Those with bipolar II disorder have a pattern of depression and mania, but manic episodes are much less severe. Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder, with mild episodes of mania and depression. Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder occurs when a person has four major episodes within a year. Treatment is available for all forms of bipolar disorder at Haven Behavioral Hospital of Albuquerque.
Some people with bipolar disorder will have numerous episodes of mania
while others experience them rarely.
What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is best understood when looking at the extremes:
Manic episodes: Mood changes including irritability, and behavioral changes such as taking on new projects, being restless and engaging in high-risk behaviors.
Depressive episodes: Loss of interest in typical activities, changes in mood, sleep and eating patterns and suicidal thoughts.