What are bipolar disorders?
Bipolar disorders cause unusual or unexplained shifts in mood, activity level and energy that impact a person’s ability to interact and function in day-to-day life. These shifts often make it difficult for a person to perform at work or at school and can prevent them from building
healthy relationships with others.
Bipolar disorders often emerge around the age of 25, but they can affect people at varying points in their life. Bipolar episodes are characterized by cycles of mania and depression. Manic episodes and depressive episodes may vary in length and severity. During an episode, it’s obvious that the affected person is not behaving normally and having more than a mild mood swing. Symptoms may appear to mimic other mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, but upon closer review, the symptoms appear in cycles.
Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorders
Bipolar disorders are characterized by intense emotional states that occur in cycles. These emotional states are often called “episodes” and a person generally experiences two types of episodes: mania, where they are extremely energetic and overly excited, and depression, where they may feel hopeless and extremely down. During both types of episodes a person may exhibit:
- Changes in energy or activity level
- Changes in sleep pattern, or insomnia
- Changes in behavior, such as becoming impulsive or difficulty making decisions