Marked by changes in changes in mood, disorders such as bipolar, disorder, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, are treatable, medical illnesses. Unfortunately, many people don’t get the help they need because of the misunderstanding surrounding the illnesses or the fear associated with stigma.
Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) is a treatable illness marked by extreme changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior. It is called bipolar disorder because a person’s mood can alternate between the “poles” of mania (high, elevated mood) and depression (low, depressed mood). These mood swings can last for hours, days, weeks or even months. These highs and lows are frequently seasonal. Many people with bipolar disorder report feeling symptoms of depression more often in the winter and symptoms of mania more often in the spring.
Bipolar disorder affects nearly six (6) million adult Americans and an equal number of men and women. It tends to run in families and is found among all races, ethnic groups and social classes. Like depression and other serious illnesses, bipolar disorder can also adversely affect spouses, significant others, family members, friends and coworkers. It usually begins in late adolescence (often appearing as depression during the teen years), although it can start in early childhood or as late as the 40s and 50s.
The majority of people with mood disorders are able to find treatments that work. Talk therapy, medication or a combination of both help individuals feel better and change situations in their lives that may be contributing to their illnesses (substance use, harmful relationships, etc.).