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Bipolar Disorder

Let's Talk About Bipolar Disorder

We've got the doctor-approved scoop on bipolar causes, symptoms, treatments, and a jillion other facts and tips that can make life with this mental health condition easier.

    Our Pro PanelBipolar Disorder

    We went to some of the nation’s top experts in bipolar disorder to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Po Wang, M.D. headshot

    Po Wang, M.D.Psychiatrist and Clinic Chief

    Bipolar Disorders Clinic at Stanford University Department of Psychiatry
    Amit Anand, M.D. headshot

    Amit Anand, M.D.Professor and Vice-Chair for Research

    Center for Behavioral Health at the Cleveland Clinic
    Linda Hubbard, L.M.F.T. headshot

    Linda Hubbard, L.M.F.T.Therapist

    Department of Behavioral Health, Psychiatry & Psychology at the Mayo Clinic
    Bipolar disorder statistics, age of bipolar diagnosis, how bipolar affects men vs women, number of Americans with bipolar disorder, percentage of patients with severe bipolar symptoms, number of bipolar forms
    Nikki Cagle
    Signs of Bipolar Disorder, signs of mania, signs of depression
    Nikki Cagle
    How Bipolar Messes with Time
    Mental Health

    The Biggest Myths About Living with Mental Illness

    Those that have a mental illness know that these myths are exactly that: myths. Take a look for yourself.

    Common Bipolar Treatments, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, ECT, talk therapy
    Nikki Cagle

    Frequently Asked QuestionsBipolar Disorder

    Is manic depression the same as bipolar disorder?  

    Many people use the terms interchangeably, and they do usually refer to the same condition. But because some think that terms like “mania” and “manic” (which carry the ring of the pejorative “maniac”) have a negative connotation, professionals often discourage use of the term “manic depression.”  Some people prefer the term “bipolar” because it sounds more scientific and less stigmatized than “manic depression.”

    Is mania the same as psychosis?  

    No. With mania, a person’s mood is strangely elevated, irritable, or both. People have feelings of grandiosity, they don’t sleep, their thoughts race, and they may speak fast or engage in abnormally risky behavior. Psychosis causes a person’s thoughts and perceptions to become so off that they lose touch with reality and can have delusions. During a manic state, a person with bipolar can experience elements of psychosis (that said, not all mania includes psychosis). But psychosis can happen with depression, a very high fever, other mental disorders, or all sorts of other reasons.

    Is bipolar disorder genetic? 

    Bipolar disorder does tend to run in families, suggesting that genes are involved. However, studies of identical twins have found that even when one twin develops the condition, the other twin may not, so while genes can make a person more prone to bipolar, many factors have to collide for a person to actually develop the disorder.

    Are bipolar symptoms different in men and women? 

    For the most part, they’re the same, although women have a higher risk of rapid cycling: when someone has four or more manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes in a year. Women also tend to have more depression than their male counterparts.

    Statistics on Bipolar Disorder: National Institute of Mental Health. (2017). "Bipolar Disorder". nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/bipolar-disorder.shtml

    Other Statistics on Bipolar: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. (n.d.). "Bipolar Disorder Statistics." dbsalliance.org/education/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-disorder-statistics/

    Screening and Symptoms: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. (n.d.). "Mental Health Screening Center." dbsalliance.org/education/mental-health-screening-center/

    Related Conditions and Anxiety: National Alliance for Mental Health. (2017). "Bipolar Disorder." nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/bipolar-disorder

    Mania vs. Depression: National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). "Bipolar Disorder." nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

    Genetics and Bipolar Disorder: U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019). "Bipolar Disorder: Inheritance Pattern." ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/bipolar-disorder?_ga=2.9407221.1145550372.1574352502-706078380.1573652664#inheritance

    Drug v. Non-Drug Therapies: U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. (2018). "Treatment for Bipolar Disorder in Adults: A Systematic Review." effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/products/bipolar-disorder-treatment/final-report-2018

    Bipolar and Alcohol: Mayo Clinic. (2019). "Bipolar disorder and alcoholism: Are they related?". mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/expert-answers/bipolar-disorder/FAQ-20057890?p=1

    Recognizing Psychosis: The New England Journal of Medicine. (2019). "Unsteady Thoughts — Telling the Truth of Psychosis" nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1905350

    Leslie Pepper

    Leslie Pepper

    Leslie Pepper is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, fitness, and wellness.