Bipolar Disorder, or Manic Depression

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. The highs and lows that distinguish bipolar disorder make it the most misunderstood of the mood disorders. Its cause is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. That imbalance results in mood swings between bouts of extreme cheerfulness and energy to periods of doom and gloom. Often with feelings of normal moods in between. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.

The highs and lows that distinguish bipolar disorder make it the most misunderstood of the mood disorders. Its cause is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. That imbalance results in mood swings between bouts of excessive cheerfulness and energy to periods of doom and gloom.

Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But there is good news - bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

Those who have bipolar disorder usually do not recognize that their moods swing up and down for little or no reason. They may be unaware that their moods are out of control. Also, not everyone with bipolar disorder has the extremes of both high and low moods. They may have mild highs and serious depression, or real highs and mild or no bouts of depression. Often the first person to notice the mood swings is a friend or fellow worker, not the person with manic depression.

Examples of the signs and symptoms of a bipolar manic - high mood - episode are:

  • Euphoria or excessively good mood
  • Serious overspending
  • Impulsivity
  • Excessive energy
  • Talking non-stop
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor judgment
  • Little need for sleep
  • Extreme irritability

Looking at the signs and symptoms of the depression - low mood - phase of bipolar disorder is more challenging. The signs and symptoms in this phase can too easily be mistaken for a depression-only condition. Such a mis-diagnosis can have very bad results for someone with bipolar illness, because the treatments are entirely different. In general, bipolar disorder is one of the most difficult mood disorders for people to recognize and for which to seek help.

Some of the signs and symptoms of a bipolar depressive - low mood - episode are:

  • Unrelenting depression
  • Gloominess and pessimism
  • Poor concentration
  • Low energy and loss of interest in activities and friends
  • Feeling listless and hopeless

The test below may help you to assess your mood swings: Yes No
1. Do your moods swing back and forth from high to low?
2. Do you have periods where your energy is really excessive?
3. Does your need for sleep vary from a lot to almost none?
4. Do you have periods where you feel like you can do anything?
5. Do you have spells when you spend excessively on silly things and can’t stop yourself?
6. Do you have times when you are so irritable your friends won’t come around you?
7. Do you have times when one idea after another races through your mind?
8. Do you have periods of impulsivity: poor judgment, promiscuity, risk-taking, and the like?
9. When you are ‘up’ do you drink more alcohol or use drugs?
10. Are your moods completely out of your control?

If you answered 'Yes' to more than four of these questions, you may qualify for one of our bipolar disorder clinical studies. If you would like more information, please contact us.

All inquiries are confidential. All examinations and procedures are free of charge. If inquiries lead to participation in one of our clinical studies, participants are compensated for their time and they qualify for follow-up treatment after the trial at no cost.

Tel: 513-791-7760
E-mail: info@patientpriority.com