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What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that can cause extreme mood swings, among other symptoms.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. It’s a condition that an estimated 4.4% of adults in the United States deal with, and it can be detrimental or dangerous if left untreated. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of bipolar disorder and discuss everything you need to know about it.

Formerly known as manic depression, bipolar disorder causes extreme mood shifts that are marked by emotional highs and lows. When you get sad or depressed, you may feel hopeless or beyond help. Conversely, when you’re happy, you may feel like you’re on top of the world and that there is nothing that can bring you down.

What Can Bipolar Disorder Impact?

These unpredictable mood swings can affect more than just your mental well-being. They can also affect your sleeping, eating, energy levels, ability to make decisions, and relationships. One of the biggest differences between someone with bipolar disorder and someone without it is the length of the mood shifts. Where others experience mood shifts that last for minutes or hours, someone with bipolar disorder will have shifts that last for days.1 

Who is at Risk of Bipolar Disorder?

While no one is fully immune from having bipolar disorder, certain people are more at risk. If you have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, who suffers from bipolar disorder, there’s a better chance that you’ll also develop it.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Because bipolar disorder has different levels of extremes, it’s generally divided up into three categories.

Bipolar I Disorder

If you’ve suffered at least one manic episode where you have unusually high energy for at least one week, you likely have bipolar I disorder. You may feel unusually irritable, ecstatic, and on top of the world during this time. Afterward, however, you will be more prone to extreme mood swings that are high and low, and drastically change your mood in a way that impacts your everyday life. 

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II disorder is when you experience at least one episode of depression and one episode of hypomania. Hypomania isn’t as serious and doesn’t last for as long as mania, but the same unusual feelings still mark it.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder is when you experience periods of depression and hypomania with extreme frequency. The symptoms aren’t as drastic, nor do they last as long as bipolar I or II disorders do. However, mood swings occur more frequently and can be detrimental if left untreated.3 

What Are the Symptoms and Risks of Bipolar Disorder?

There are several symptoms to be aware of if you think that you or someone you love has a form of bipolar disorder. These include:

  • Excessive happiness, hopefulness, and excitement
  • Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable and angry
  • Rapid speech and poor concentration
  • Becoming more impulsive
  • Sadness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness

Bipolar Risk Factors

While bipolar disorder is a fairly common condition and is increasing in numbers, doctors have not yet determined the exact cause. However, here are some definite risk factors that increase your chances of contracting bipolar disorder.


Genetics is the greatest risk factor for bipolar disorder. It’s estimated that between 80-90% of those with bipolar disorder also have a close relative who had it before them.

Brain Structure

Your brain structure, which is also affected by genetics, can put you more at risk for developing bipolar disorder as well. If you have chemical imbalances or an irregular brain structure or function, it increases your chances.

Environmental or Traumatic Stress

You can also develop bipolar disorder because of your living situation or a traumatic event. If you’ve recently suffered a period of extreme stress, a traumatic event, or are recovering from a serious illness, you’re more at risk for bipolar disorder.

Complications with Bipolar Disorder

The biggest issue with bipolar disorder is if you have the condition and leave it untreated. Bipolar disorder can affect your everyday activities, relationships, and work or school life. Here are some of the possible complications:

  • You are more prone to taking your own life or attempting to do so if left untreated.
  • Because your ability to make good choices is impaired, you’re more at risk of getting into legal or financial trouble.
  • Because your ability to make good choices is impaired, you’re more at risk of getting into legal or financial trouble.
  • You can also struggle to hold a job or to succeed at school.

How to Prevent Bipolar Disorder

While bipolar disorder isn’t always preventable if you’re predisposed to it, there are ways that you can mitigate the effects. Some of these include:

  • Paying attention to the warning signs by addressing symptoms immediately.
  • Taking your doctor-prescribed medications exactly as directed.

Get Help with Bipolar Disorder at Anew Treatment Center

If you or a loved one is suffering from bipolar disorder, you don’t have to go through it alone. Anew Treatment Center is a state-of-the-art facility that’s here to help. We offer several treatment options to aid you in your battle with all three forms of bipolar disorder.


Therapy in the form of counseling is one of our specialties. We utilize interpersonal and social rhythm therapies to help you balance out your daily habits, which can lead to fewer mood swings.


Medications are the cornerstone of treatment for bipolar disorder and are often necessary to balance out your hormones. These include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications.


Psychotherapy aims to help you better understand why you have certain strong feelings. Having this knowledge can help you cope with your emotions and not let them control you. Cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and family therapy can help you with your bipolar disorder.4 

Help and Support

You’re not alone if you are struggling with bipolar disorder. Anew Treatment Center is waiting with open arms to guide you on the road to recovery. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.

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