A person suffering from bipolar disorder (also called manic depression) experiences extreme moods that alternate between high or "manic" phases, and low or "depressive" phases. People with mild cases are often undiagnosed until their disorder progresses to more severe or even life threatening symptoms (e.g. suicidal depression, or manic delusions).

A manic high usually feels good and for this reason those in a manic or mild (hypo manic) state will almost always deny that anything is wrong with them. They simply feel too good to believe anything is wrong. In a manic condition, it is difficult to reason with them.

In order to receive proper diagnosis and treatment your symptoms and family history (of mood swings, depression, and/or alcohol/drugs/gambling/sexual addictions need to be identified. The symptoms of any bipolar episode (mania or depression) are usually limited to distinct, time-limited periods of illness. These episodes are separated by times when the person has few or no symptoms.

Episodes vary from person to person. They generally occur in cycles, some lasting as long as a year (episodes have been known to last years), some may last only minutes. Whenever a person experiences four or more episodes within a 12 month period, that person is said to have "rapid cycling" form of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness).


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