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Mental Health Concerns
164
BIPOLAR DISORDER
Bipolar disorder (previously called manic depression) is an
illness that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy and
functioning. Changes may be subtle or dramatic and may
vary over the course of a person’s life. . Approximately 4
percent of the population in the U.S. is diagnosed with
bipolar disorder and it affects men and women equally.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of mania and
depression that can last from days to months. It often begins
in adolescence or early adulthood and occasionally even in
childhood. Most people generally require some sort of
lifelong treatment. While medication is one key element in
successful treatment of bipolar disorder, psychotherapy,
support and education about the illness also are essential
components of treatment.
What are the symptoms of mania? “Mania” describes the
activated phase of bipolar disorder. Symptoms of mania
may include:
either an elated, happy mood or an irritable, angry,
unpleasant mood
increased physical and mental activity and energy
racing thoughts and flight of ideas
increased talking, more rapid speech than normal
ambitious, often grandiose plans
risk taking
impulsive activity such as spending sprees, sexual