Bipolar disorder-also commonly referred to as "manic depression" or "manic-depressive disorder"-is a mental illness which is caused by a disorder of the brain. Individuals who suffer from this mental illness experience severe mood swings that can cause detrimental behaviors which are not only harmful to themselves, but agonizing to their loved ones as well.
In many cases the families of the individual who has this disorder often find it very confusing and attribute their actions to just bad behavior or poor judgment and perceive it as something which the individual can control simply by modifying their behavior or lifestyle.
Extreme Mood Swings Caused by Bipolar Disorder
Individuals who have bipolar disorder experience extreme mood swings ranging from extreme "highs" to extreme "lows". The "highs" -which are called "manic episodes"- cause them to be overly excited or euphoric and can lead to detrimental behaviors such as spending money excessively or promiscuous sexual activities.
The "lows" or "depression" experienced by those with Bipolar Disorder results in the symptoms of depression, reduced energy levels, restlessness, and could result in thoughts of suicide. These variations in mood swings are what make the diagnosis of bipolar disorder very difficult as these individuals can sometimes experience short episodes which can appear to be just a phase or another form of mental illness.
The Different Types of Bipolar Disorder
There are various types of this mental disorder of which all include the primary symptom of mood swings. When an individual experiences a "manic episode" at least one time in their life, this condition is known is called "bipolar I". In individuals who experience both the manic and depression episodes in variations overtime, this type is known as "bipolar II", however, in bipolar II the individual never reaches a full state of "mania".
Another type of these disorder is referred to as "rapid cycling" where the individual is experiencing episodes of both mania and depression three to four times per year. Mixed bipolar disorder is when an individual experiences these mood swings simultaneously or one right after the other. Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar in which the individual experiences the symptoms of bipolar disorder but to a lesser degree.