Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What Is Bipolar Disorder? Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic-depressive illness, is a condition that affects more than two million Americans. People who have this illness tend to experience extreme mood swings, along with other specific symptoms and behaviors. These mood swings or "episodes" can take three forms: manic episodes, depressive episodes, or "mixed" episodes.
The symptoms of a manic episode often include elevated mood (feeling extremely happy), being extremely irritable and anxious, talking too fast and too much, and having an unusual increase in energy and a reduced need for sleep.

there was one emotionally disturbed lady I dated who had the above episodes..she kept repeating how she was extremely happy and then went through very depressed periods.she became extremely irritated and anxious when her parents were coming to stay almost as if she was preparing for a final exam. The house had to be spotless so she sent me off to teach her 9 year old son to ride a bike!

It's also very common for someone to act impulsively during a manic episode, and engage in behaviors that are risky or that they later regret, like spending sprees.
or a very loose lifestyle with drugs and many sex partners creating health and back problems later
And in over half of all manic episodes, people are troubled by delusions or hallucinations.
experiencing past life experiences and believing in magic spells

For example, they may think they have a relationship with someone famous,
believing to have the power of a very rare Indian tribe..

claim to be an expert in an area they really know nothing about, feel paranoid (unusually fearful), or hear voices that are not there.

The symptoms of a depressive episode often include an overwhelming feeling of emptiness or sadness, a lack of energy, a loss of interest in things, trouble concentrating, changes in normal sleep or appetite, and/or thoughts of dying or suicide.

A mixed episode includes symptoms that are both manic and depressive.
What causes it?
The symptoms of bipolar disorder are thought to be caused by an imbalance of key chemicals in the brain. The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells that move a constant stream of information from one to the other. To keep the information flowing, the cells release chemicals known as "neurotransmitters." Two key neurotransmitters that are needed for brain function are dopamine and serotonin, which play a crucial role in emotional health.
Many scientists believe that when the levels of these neurotransmitters aren't quite right, it may result in bipolar disorder. For instance, too much dopamine in certain parts of the brain can cause symptoms such as delusions, while too little dopamine in other parts of the brain can cause symptoms such as a lack of emotion and energy."

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