Life is full of ups and downs; happiness and sadness. So it’s not uncommon for people to feel a range of emotions. For those with bipolar disorder, however, feelings of happiness, sadness and anger can be extreme. what-is-bipolar-disorder

Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression and bipolar affective disorder, is a mood disorder that causes a person to feel extreme highs and lows that are too hard to cope with at times. Excessive mood swings can interfere with everyday life and even be dangerous to a person with this illness.

More than 5.7 million American adults have bipolar disorder according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That’s about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older. You may have an acquaintance with manic depression. If that person learns to manage the illness well, you may never suspect it. People with bipolar disorder look just like everyone else.

Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, it can be treated. People with manic depression can live long fulfilling lives, if they take care of themselves. If they do not manage their illness, it could have dire consequences, including suicide.

If you suspect you are manic depressive, the first step is to get a diagnosis from a qualified health care professional. It is not always easy to get a diagnosis so do not be discouraged if it takes awhile to reach a conclusion.

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