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A 61-year-old member asked:

what is bipolar disorder?

15 doctor answers40 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Moranville
Psychiatry 36 years experience
Manic depressive : Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder which is characterized by abnormally high (manic) and abnormally low (depressive) episodes.
Dr. Otto Placik
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
Bipolar disorder: The classical description of bipolar disease is the "very high and very low" disease with highs described as feeling like superman and lows as profound depression with a high rate of suicidal ideation. However, more recently it has been associated with a more schizophrenic presentation not necessarily presenting with the very dramatic ups and downs (typically less of the manic phase).
Dr. Marguerite Barnett
Plastic Surgery 42 years experience
Mania/Depression: Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition which causes cycling of the mood between depression and mania. Mania is characterized by extreme hyperactivity, exuberance and often insomnia. Depression usually exhibits the opposite. The cycles can be rapid or more slow and the extremes can be muted. It is important to diagnose properly because treatment differs from that of depression alone.
Dr. Bassam Amawi
Psychiatry 49 years experience
Manic depressive: Mood swing with patient can fluctuate between higher ( high) and lower (lows) or ffeling irritable.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Mood Disorder: Mania or hypomania: 1 may show aggression, agitation, v judgment ; impulse control, distractability, rapid thoughts ; speech, ^ libido, v sleep, spending sprees, high risk behaviors, elation, ^ physical activity or psychosis. When depressed 1 may have low mood, v energy level, v concentration, amotivation, ^ or v sleeping, ^ or v in appetite, poor self esteem, feelings of hopelessness or >.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Provided original answer
helplessness, lack of joy, irritability, impaired functioning, guilt & suicidal thoughts or psychosis.
Jan 11, 2014
Dr. Andrew Berry
Clinical Psychology 14 years experience
Bipolar: Bipolar I and bipolar II, In the first, manic phases are more severe, and in the second, depressive phases are more severe. There is also cyclothymia which is a low grade version of bipolar disorder in general, where mood swings are not as severe in either direction, manic or depressive.
Dr. George Klauber
Specializes in Pediatric Urology
Manic depression: Psychiatric condition where subject experiences both episodes of severe depression & mania or hypomania. These episodes are frequently cyclical or seasonal. Subject often attributes depressive episodes to external causes such as unpleasant boss or feeling ill. Manic episodes can vary from being"life & soul of the party" to being extremely obnoxious & "impossible". Best treated by a psychiatrist.
Dr. Dheeraj Raina
Psychiatry 29 years experience
Major Mental Illness: Bipolar disorder is a lifelong mental illness which features recurrent episodes of severe depression and of hypomania/mania - which is best explained as the opposite of depression. Bipolar disorder usually has a strong biological basis. The diagnosis is best made by a psychiatrist. The phrase, "he/she is bipolar" used by lay people often implies emotionality, not the diagnosis.
Dr. Andrew Berry
Clinical Psychology 14 years experience
Bipolar: Bipolar I and bipolar II, In the first, manic phases are more severe, and in the second, depressive phases are more severe. There is also cyclothymia which is a low grade version of bipolar disorder in general, where mood swings are not as severe in either direction, manic or depressive.
Dr. Aaron Ament
Psychiatry 58 years experience
EVALUATE: Bd is a biochemical/phisiologic illness, generally long- lasting, generally with recurrent serious depression and/or very energized, ill considered and sometimes psychotic behavior. The DX is made too casually these days, based on an episode of angry behavior and DX should be made ; confirmed with an expert. Treatment is generally manditory to manage.
Dr. Dheeraj Raina
Psychiatry 29 years experience
Major Mental Illness: Bipolar disorder is a lifelong mental illness which features recurrent episodes of severe depression and of hypomania/mania - which is best explained as the opposite of depression. Bipolar disorder usually has a strong biological basis. The diagnosis is best made by a psychiatrist. The phrase, "he/she is bipolar" used by lay people often implies emotionality, not the diagnosis.
Dr. Andrew Berry
Clinical Psychology 14 years experience
Bipolar: Bipolar I and bipolar II, In the first, manic phases are more severe, and in the second, depressive phases are more severe. There is also cyclothymia which is a low grade version of bipolar disorder in general, where mood swings are not as severe in either direction, manic or depressive.
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Ali answered
Psychiatry 32 years experience
Bipolar: Moods swing to extremes, between episodes of depression lasting around few weeks & phases of mania lasting few weeks each. Milder forms are called bipolar type 2 or cyclothymia, more severe forms are accompanied with psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices or seeing things that are not there. Your mental health counselor can assess & give more definite diagnosis.
Dr. Daryl Tanski
Specializes in Psychiatry
Risk: In the general population incidence is 1 to 4%. Beyond that, a face to face evaluation is needed. The mood disorder questioner (mqd) is in public domain as a good screen tool and/or conversation starter with a md.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Please get help.: Bipolar Disorder is treatable. Recommend comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. If you do in fact have bipolar disorder a mix of psychotropic medications and talking therapy can be very helpful. Take care.

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Similar questions

A 20-year-old member asked:

What causes bipolar disorder?

5 doctor answers19 doctors weighed in
Dr. Antonio Garcia Merino
Psychiatry 19 years experience
Multifactorial: Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder. It's origin can be multifactorial, genetics plays a big role into it, so having a family member with bipolar disorder or other mood disorder puts you at a increase risk compared to the general population. Other things like biological factors such as history of drugs can presipitate bipolar like symptoms.
A 44-year-old member asked:

What is bipolar affective disorder?

3 doctor answers13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Susan Uhrich
Psychiatry 36 years experience
Bipolar: Is a mood disorder characterized by swings from highs (mania or hypo mania) to lows (depression).
A 30-year-old member asked:

Is bipolar disorder hereditary?

3 doctor answers15 doctors weighed in
Dr. Paul Pancner
Clinical Psychology 18 years experience
Genetics: Bipolar disorder has been found to have some hereditary basis. This doesn't mean that there is a 100% chance that the offsoring of someone with bipolar d/o will enx up with it as well, but rather there is more likelihood as compared to the general population. I believe bipolar d/ o is now the 2nd highezt of mental d/o, being surpassed by adhd.
Mount Pleasant, PA
A 21-year-old male asked:

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

2 doctor answers13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Matthew Keener
Child Psychiatry 16 years experience
Clinical exam: Although in the future we may have blood tests or functional MRI scans that can diagnose the disorder, for now the only way to diagnose bipolar is to see a counselor or doctor who can diagnose the condition based on history and exam.
United Kingdom
A 14-year-old female asked:

What can cause bipolar disorder?

3 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Reynolds
Psychiatry 33 years experience
Multifactorial: As with many medical conditions the causes of bipolar disorder are not fully know. It is believed they are polygenetic, with multiple genes interacting resulting in some degree of vulnerability or resistance to the condition. This biology then interacts with environmental factors, both positive and negative which can have different effects based upon when in life or how many/often they occur.

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