bipolar disorder, you alternate between episodes of
mania. In between, you may return completely to normal
or have some remaining symptoms. The extreme mood changes may come on suddenly
or appear more slowly.
During a manic episode, you may be
abnormally happy, energetic, or very irritable for a week or more. At first,
you may feel incredibly productive or creative. You may feel powerful and
seductive and think there is nothing you can't accomplish. But as a manic
episode progresses, you may behave wildly and irresponsibly, spending a lot of
money, getting involved in dangerous activities, and sleeping very little. You
may also have a hard time functioning in your job and relationships.
An at-home bipolar test, launched in February 2008 and sold over the Internet, is meant to be used with a doctor's evaluation to make a correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder more quickly.
"Sales continue to be brisk," says Kurt May, CEO and founder of Psynomics Inc., the San Diego-based company producing the $399 at-home test for bipolar disorder, the latest in an array of tests marketed to consumers who want to know their risk for various diseases.
But some mental health experts are skeptical...
After a manic episode, you may return to normal, or your mood may swing
in the opposite direction and you may feel useless, hopeless, and extremely
sad. When you are depressed, you may have trouble concentrating, remembering,
and making decisions. You may have changes in your eating and sleeping habits.
And you may lose interest in things you have enjoyed in the past. Some people
become suicidal or harm themselves during episodes of depression. Some feel as
if they can't move, care, or think.
Men tend to have more manic
episodes, while women have more episodes of depression.6
At first, stress may trigger depression or
mania. But as the illness progresses, mood swings may not be caused by any
specific event. Without treatment, your bipolar disorder may get worse, causing
you to move more often between mania and depression.
People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have one or more risk
factors of cardiovascular disease, including
high blood pressure, and
diabetes.7 Your physical
health will be watched closely by your doctor.