Bipolar disorder, as defined by the National Institution of Mental Health, is a mood disorder that causes a person to suffer extreme emotional changes and shifts in mood. Previously known as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder causes alternate periods of mania and depression. To fully understand the effects of this disease, it is important to comprehend the meanings of mania and depression. mania is defined as "excitement manifested by mental and physical hyperactivity, disorganization of behavior, and elevation of mood." ("Wikipedia"). Depression, on the other hand, is defined as "a psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death." ("Wikipedia"). The combination of the two results in emotional chaos.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder are often exhibited in several other illnesses; therefore potential bipolar patients must be made aware of the symptoms of the disease. There are criteria that must be met in order to properly make the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For a depressive episode, the person must exhibit at least five of the following symptoms during a two week period: depressed mood, loss of interest in all daily activities, significant weight loss or weight gain, insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, inability to... [continues]
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