Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a medical illness that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning. These changes may be subtle or dramatic and typically vary greatly over the course of a person’s life as well as among individuals. Over 10 million people in America have bipolar disorder, and the illness affects men and women equally. Bipolar disorder is a chronic and generally life-long condition with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from days to months that often begin in adolescence or early adulthood, and occasionally even in children. Most people generally require some sort of lifelong treatment. While medication is one key element in successful treatment of bipolar disorder, psychotherapy, support, and education about the illness are also essential components of the treatment process.
from the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Extensive specific information is available at www.nami.org
- A particularly helpful brochure, Understanding Bipolar Disorder and Recovery, is published by NAMI.
- Also, the Bible of the mental health professionals is “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” or “DSM.” This contains detailed behavioral descriptors for various types of the disease.
- A fascinating and invaluable resource is a book by Kay Redfield Jamison, a renowned professor of psychiatry whose specialized area of study is Bipolar Disorder. She, herself, has struggled with Bipolar Disorder since the age of 17. The book is An “Unquiet Mind,” Vintage Books, 1996.
- Bphope Magazine offers bipolar disorder information, support and bi polar resources for patients, family and friends in each issue. Visit www.bphope.com.