bipolar disorder - Genetics Home Reference
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and behavior. This disorder most often appears in late adolescence or early adulthood, although symptoms can begin at any time of life.
People with bipolar disorder experience both dramatic "highs," called manic episodes, and "lows," called depressive episodes. These episodes can last from hours to weeks, and many people have no symptoms between episodes. Manic episodes are characterized by increased energy and activity, irritability, restlessness, an inability to sleep, and reckless behavior. Depressive episodes are marked by low energy and activity, a feeling of hopelessness, and an inability to perform everyday tasks. People with bipolar disorder often have repeated thoughts of death and suicide, and they have a much greater risk of dying by suicide than the general population.
Manic and depressive episodes can include psychotic symptoms, such as false perceptions (hallucinations) or strongly held false beliefs (delusions). Mixed episodes, which have features of manic and depressive episodes at the same time, also occur in some affected individuals.
Bipolar disorder often occurs with other mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders (such as panic attacks), behavioral disorders (such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), and substance abuse.
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