Mental Health

Bipolar Disorder

The extreme highs and lows of bipolar disorder can damage your relationships and disrupt your daily life. But you’re not powerless. With treatment, support, and good coping skills, you can manage your disorder and keep symptoms in check.

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Bipolar Disorder FAQs

What are the signs of bipolar disorder?
The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary in frequency and severity. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression symptoms, while others alternate equally between the two. Symptoms of mania include feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria. You might notice yourself talking faster, sleeping less, and making grandiose plans. However, you may also become reckless, aggressive, irritable, or delusional. Signs of bipolar depression include feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and physical and mental fatigue. You may move and speak slower, experience changes in appetite, and have a harder time getting out of bed.
What is the testing for bipolar disorder?
There is no single test for bipolar disorder. Getting an accurate diagnosis may involve a thorough review of your medical history, a physical exam, and a psychological evaluation. This can help your doctor determine if any medications or other conditions are causing your symptoms. While no online test can replace a medical diagnosis, you can take HelpGuide’s short quiz to help you decide if you should speak to a mental health professional.
Is bipolar disorder genetic?
A large-scale study in 2021 found that certain genes can increase a person’s risk of developing bipolar disorder. Your risk is higher if you have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the disorder. However, you’re not guaranteed to inherit it. Aside from genetic risk factors, environmental factors, such as substance abuse or childhood emotional abuse and neglect, may also play a role.
What is bipolar 2?
In 1994, bipolar 2 disorder was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Bipolar 2 is a subset of bipolar disorder and involves shifts between depressive episodes and hypomania, a milder form of mania. Although hypomania is less severe than mania, people with bipolar 2 may struggle with chronic depression, which can be even more debilitating. Some studies show that bipolar 2 may be as prevalent as bipolar 1.
What is the difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2?
Bipolar 2 features hypomania rather than full-blown mania, but depression is more prominent. It also tends to have a later age of onset. People with bipolar 1 suffer from mania as well as depression. They are also more likely to experience psychosis, or a disconnection from reality. Some research indicates that people with bipolar 2 tend to experience more suicidal ideation, while people with bipolar 1 may be more prone to taking suicidal actions. Bipolar 2 seems to be more genetically similar to major depression, while bipolar 1 has a stronger genetic similarity to schizophrenia.