Bipolar mania is a prolonged state (at least one week at a time) of extreme elation or agitation accompanied by excessive energy. Symptoms of the manic "highs" include increased energy, racing thoughts and fast speech, excessive talkativeness, distractibility, reckless and aggressive behavior, grandiose thoughts, decreased need for sleep, feelings of invincibility, sexual inappropriateness including infidelity, excessive spending, and exaggerated self-confidence.
Fran Szabo, 61, of Bethlehem, Pa., is one of those moms who speak glowingly about her kids without sounding like she’s trying to one-up other mothers. All three are successful in their careers and personal lives.
But the road to this happiness, Fran acknowledges, was bumpy for her, husband Paul, and sons Thad, 36, Vance, 32, and Ross, 29. Ross and Thad were both diagnosed with bipolar disorder so severe they required psychiatric hospitalizations. For years after that, Thad was estranged from the...
Bipolar depression is a prolonged state (at least 2 weeks at a time) of low energy levels and sadness or irritability. Symptoms of the bipolar depression may include a pessimistic attitude, social withdrawal, thoughts of death or suicide, extreme sadness, and irritability.
Manic or depressive symptoms also sometime co-occur as part of the same episode. For example, someone may have symptoms of both. When this happens, the episode is said to have ''mixed features.''
The term "rapid cycling" is used not to describe rapid shifts in mood from one moment to the next, but rather, a pattern that occurs when the patient has four or more distinct episodes of major depression, mania, and/or mixed features within one year. The length of time that the mood switches may range from days to months.
What causes bipolar disorder?
Though the exact cause of bipolar disorder has yet to be found, scientists confirm that bipolar disorder has a genetic component, meaning the disorder can run in families. Some research suggests that multiple factors may interact to produce abnormal function of brain circuits that results in bipolar disorder's symptoms of major depression and mania. Examples of environmental factors may include stress, alcohol or substance abuse, and lack of sleep.
Who is at risk of bipolar disorder?
More than 10 million Americans have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, as well as all races, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic classes.
Although men and women appear to be equally affected by bipolar disorder, rapid cycling is seen more often in women. Women also tend to experience more depressive and mixed state episodes than do men. A man's first experience with bipolar disorder may be in a manic state; women tend to first experience a depressive state.
Bipolar disorder can present itself at any age, but typically, onset occurs around age 25.