Bipolar disorder is one of the more serious types of mental illness in America, affecting millions of Americans every year. It is the swing of moods from one end of the spectrum — like depression — to the other end — like euphoria and mania. Most people who experience these mood swings do so over the course of weeks or even months, so it’s not like a rubber band swing.
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that approximately 5 out of 100 Americans have or will get bipolar disorder within their lifetime.
I don’t have a bipolar disorder, but I have friends who have it. I’ve seen what it can do to a person’s life, as they grapple with the lows (which I can relate to), and the highs. When a person is in a manic phase, they act and seem like they can do pretty much anything. The people I’ve known with this disorder start a hundred projects, but finish none of them. Focus seems to become a problem.
Everyone I know that has bipolar disorder also has had it successfully treated, mostly through the use of mood stabilizers like lithium and other modern psychiatric medications. Some are in therapy, as it seems to help give them a touch point every week to ensure they remain stable and in recovery.
Most people who have bipolar disorder live successful, normal lives when it is being treated. Most people seem to benefit from an ongoing course of treatment for most of their lives, just like a person with diabetes needs to take insulin to keep that disease at bay.
Bipolar Disorder Resources
The following sites offer what I believe to be excellent information and further resources about bipolar disorder:
- National Institute of Mental Health’s page on Bipolar
- Mental Health America’s Bipolar Page
- Bipolar Disorder
- DBS Alliance on Bipolar
- Bipolar Quiz
- Mayo Clinic on Bipolar
Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed at virtually any point in a person’s life. Most people receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in their 20s or 30s, when symptoms of the disorder have started to significantly interfere and impact the person’s life and relationships.