Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a mental illness that causes extreme shifts in mood, behavior, and energy levels. These shifts consist of incredibly energetic and manic highs and depressive lows. For many people, the condition is unmanageable without proper bipolar disorder treatment.
Patients with bipolar disorder will have periods where they feel unusually excited and energetic and other times, they will feel severely depressed and fatigued. There are periods of time in between where they will appear to be acting normal.
The word “manic” refers to the times when patients with bipolar disorder feel overly energetic and confident. During these periods of mania, they may also feel highly irritable and impulsive and make reckless decisions. About half of the people who struggle with bipolar disorder have delusions or hallucinations during manic episodes.
The word “depressive” describes the times where these people feel very depressed and low in energy. These symptoms are identical to those of major depression, a depressive disorder where someone never has the manic highs of bipolar disorder.
Some patients even experience “hypomania”, which technically means “less than mania” and refers to episodes that are similar to mania, but not as severe. These are typically marked by feelings of excitement, impaired judgment and hyperactivity.