Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings. A person with bipolar disorder has periods of mania, or frantic “highs,” where there is an oversupply of energy and confidence that often leads to reckless behavior. There are also times of devastating “lows” or depression, when the person has little interest in things that are usually enjoyable and may be barely able to function.
The length of the manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder can vary. In fact, there’s often no way to tell when an episode of either will occur.
Without treatment, bipolar disorder can ruin lives as it leads to problems with family and friends, poor job performance, financial disaster, and even death from reckless behavior or suicide. But bipolar disorder is very treatable. Common treatments include medication, psychotherapy, and, in extreme cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). With proper treatment and support, a normal, productive life at work and home is possible.
Following are web sites offering additional resources on Bipolar Disorder:
TeensHealth by Nemours Foundation
Web site: http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/bipolar.html
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Web site: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?template=/contentManagement/contentDisplay.cfm&contentID=130753
Bipolar Disorder Learning Center Web site: http://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder
National Institute of Mental Health Web site: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml