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bipolar disorder

Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depressive illness) is a condition of the brain that causes extreme changes in a person’s thinking, mood, energy levels and overall behavior. This mental health condition affects around 2 % of the population. It was once known as manic depression because people tend to experience extreme moods – both depressed (low), and high or excited (manic).

While the causes of bipolar disorder are not fully known, a combination of genetic and other factors are usually associated with its development. As with other mental health conditions, a family history of bipolar disorder increases the likelihood of someone developing the condition at some stage in their life.

Highs and Lows

People with bipolar disorder experience extreme highs and lows. In a high (manic) state, people may behave in a reckless way. Their thoughts, speech and movements speed up and they may have difficulty focusing on tasks, feeling frustrated and irritable. On the other hand, the symptoms of a low or depressed state are like those for people experiencing depression. These include feeling low or sad, detaching from friends and family, and losing interest in hobbies and pleasures.