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Bipolar Disorder

Also called: Manic-depressive illness

Summary

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness. People who have it go through unusual mood changes. They go from very happy, "up," and active to very sad and hopeless, "down," and inactive, and then back again. They often have normal moods in between. The up feeling is called mania. The down feeling is depression.

The causes of bipolar disorder aren't always clear. It runs in families. Abnormal brain structure and function may also play a role.

Bipolar disorder often starts in a person's late teen or early adult years. But children and adults can have bipolar disorder too. The illness usually lasts a lifetime.

If you think you may have it, tell your health care provider. A medical checkup can rule out other illnesses that might cause your mood changes.

If not treated, bipolar disorder can lead to damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. However, there are effective treatments to control symptoms: medicine and talk therapy. A combination usually works best.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

Start Here

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in

Symptoms

  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)

Living With

  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)
  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • (Mental Health America)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Health Check Tools

  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Clinical Trials

  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • (NAMI)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • (American Psychological Association)

Children

  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in
  • (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) - PDF

Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in

Patient Handouts

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