Bipolar disorder causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder approximately 6 months ago and it all suddenly made sense. I always either felt very "up" or very "down", never just neutral. I would go through periods of feeling very energized, not sleep, and have increased activity levels. I would become very reckless and make risky and potentially dangerous choices without thinking about consequences. This was one of my manic episodes. Other times, I would feel very sad and hopeless and have little to no energy. This was one of my depressive episodes.
Approximately 5.7 milion adults in the United States are diagonsed with bipolar disorder. About one in one hundred adults will struggle with bipolar disorder in their lives, with the illness beginning in the late teens or early 20s, when the brain is still developing.
Although there is still a lot of question regarding how one develops bipolar disorder, research suggests that brain structure and genetics have the most to do with the diagnoses.
There is no cure for bipolar disorder, only ways to help manage the symptoms. A combination of medication and psychotherapy ("talk therapy") has been proven to make the biggest impact on those struggling with bipolar disorder.