Bi-Polar disorder, also commonly known as manic-depressive disorder, is a fairly well known disease by reputation.
Most estimates place the lifetime incidence of the condition somewhere around 1% of the population.
Bi-Polar disorder, is a psychiatric illness, categorized by the subject undergoing two different states of mental stimulation.
The first phase of the disease is known as the manic phase.
During this phase, the patient can seem hyperactive, and they have vastly increased energy levels.
They are also capable of quicker cognition, literally leaping from thought to thought.
Their mood is also similarly high, and in many cases is nearly euphoric.
Sometimes, patients’ energy level is such that they require only three or four hours of sleep a night in order to maintain their crazed pace.
This speed comes at a price however; their attention spans are often lowered, and persons in a manic state can often be easily distracted.
Their judgment can also be impaired, including up to the level that they may engage in the use of intoxicants.
At the extreme end of the scale, people can even suffer from extremely potent anxiety, and can be irritable to the point of bursting into a rage.
This is balanced by the second phase of the disease, the depressive episodes.
These can also be severe, with the lows being as pronounced as the highs of the manic period were.
Persistent feelings of sadness can often overwhelm someone in a depressive state. They may also suffer from feelings of isolation, guilt, or loneliness.
Their interest in sexual activity often drops, and they may increase socially avoidant behaviors like shyness.
In the most extreme cases of depression, it can spiral into a full blown psychosis, with all the attendant problems of that condition.
There are other states of this disorder as well.
There can be what are called hypomanic episodes. These are kind of mania-lite episodes, which aren’t really thought of as a problem, unless they are accompanied by corresponding depressive periods. There can also be mixed affective episodes, where someone experiences some symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously. An example of this would be someone who feels that they are a failure, while at the same time having a flight of ideas.
As you can see, bi-polar disorder is a very serious illness, and is one that you should speak to a qualified mental health professional about as soon as possible, if you think you or a loved one is suffering from it.
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