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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Over half of Bipolar cases develops before the age of 25.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by "mood episodes" ; manic episodes (overly joyful or overexcited state) , depressive episodes (an extremely sad or hopeless state) or a mixed state (mania and depression). These changes are accompanied by extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social phobia, can often co-occur among people with bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.
Although no cure, there is range of treatments to control the disorder. Because bipolar disorder is a lifelong and recurrent illness, people with the disorder need long-term treatment to maintain control of bipolar symptoms. An effective maintenance treatment plan includes medication and psychotherapy for preventing relapse and reducing symptom severity. Medications such as Lithium, Valproic Acid, and anticonvulsants are used to stabilize moods. Antidepressant medications are sometimes used to treat symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. Alternative treatments include Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and herbal supplements.
Source; Adapted from National Institue of Mental Health