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Bipolar I Disorder

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Can Bipolar I Disorder Be Prevented?

The causes of bipolar disorder are not well understood. It's not known if bipolar I disorder can be prevented entirely.

It is possible to lower the risk of episodes of mania or depression once bipolar disorder has developed. Regular therapy sessions with a psychologist or social worker can help people to identify factors that can destabilize mood (such as poor medication adherence, sleep deprivation, drug or alcohol abuse, and poor stress management), leading to fewer hospitalizations and feeling better overall. Taking medicine on a regular basis can help to prevent future manic or depressive episodes.

How Is Bipolar I Different From Other Types of Bipolar Disorder?

People with bipolar I disorder experience full episodes of mania -- the often severe abnormally elevated mood and behavior described above. These manic symptoms can lead to serious disruptions in life (for example, spending the family fortune, or having an unintended pregnancy).

In bipolar II disorder, the symptoms of elevated mood never reach full-blown mania. They often pass for extreme cheerfulness, even making someone a lot of fun to be around -- the "life of the party." Not so bad, you might think -- except bipolar II disorder usually involves extensive and disabling periods of  significant depression, which can often be harder to treat than if episodes of hypomania had never occurred.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 11, 2014
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