Bipolar is known as a cyclic disorder because sufferers quite literally go through cycles. There are the episodes of mania and episodes of depression. And then of course there is the mixed episode, which is a combination of the two episode types combined into a shorter time frame. The bipolar sufferer may experience both mania and depression in a single day.
Essentially, bipolar is a mood disorder that alters the individuals ability to control their own emotions and can cause severe problems in their lives as a result. Because of the cyclic nature of the disorder it can be very difficult to diagnose, without a long time history of the afflicted individual.
What are the episodes? And what do they mean?
An episode is just a reference to a period of time. A specific time frame in which a behaviour or behaviour patterns may occur.
The first one is mania. It is an elevated state of elation. But not like most people would experience. Instead of it being momentarily for a specific reason, the bipolar person will experience a very high level of happy type emotions, in conjunction with irritability, and inability to process things around them properly. I may also include a blatant disregard for many things they wouldn't normally do, such as sexual promiscuity. They may also have high level of energy as well as an inability to sleep.
The second episode type is depression, and it is the polar opposite of mania. Instead of having tons of energy, the individual would have very little energy. May sleep excessively, be unable to focus. They may also lack any sort of interest in sexual relations, or anything at all for that matter. They may show a complete lack of interest in the world around them.
A mixed episode is simply when the manic stage and depressive stage occur over a very small time frame, such as daily.
As is quite understandable these episodes can greatly impact a person's life. These cycles can make it very hard to maintain a working schedule or even carry out any form of relationships.
It can be very difficult for someone suffering from bipolar syndrome to function on a daily basis because of the frequent extreme mood swings and episodes.
This is also why it is very important for a bipolar person to attend to regular medical treatments, including counseling and medication treatments.
Bipolar disorder does not have to consume your entire life, but can do so if left untreated. If you or someone you know may be suffering from this disorder, it is very important they speak with a medical professional. Leaving it untreated can lead to major problems.