Bipolar Disorder Marked by Mood Swings
Byline: Dianna Hubay
Bipolar disorder (also known as Manic-Depression) can be a disabling mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings. It is estimated that 1 percent of the American population suffers with this illness - the rich, famous, gifted and "ordinary" folks.
Bipolar disorder is equally common among men and women, the onset usually reported before the age of 30. Although bipolar disorder is usually considered an adult condition, some 15 to 30 percent of those affected experienced their first manic or depressive episode before the age of 20.
Many famous people are thought to have had a bipolar disorder including Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, the artist Van Gogh, Edwin Aldren, and actress Patty Duke.
Bipolar disorder involves cycles of mania or "highs," and depression or "lows." At times the change can be rapid, severe and dramatic. Most often however, the changes are more gradual and longer lasting; sometimes weeks or months. The person suffering with bipolar disorder may report bouts of "feeling normal" between cycles.
In the manic or "high" phase, the person will feel expansive, or euphoric with accompanying feelings of extreme confidence, optimism and an increased sense of well-being. Different speech patterns, which tend to be rapid, pressured and abundant will be observed. Speech patterns may include switching from topic to topic, the use of unusual patterns such as puns, or rhymes; or speaking loudly or even abusively.
Mania is also observed in unusually high levels of activity, decreased need for sleep, and increased sexual drive, which is often accompanied by indiscriminate sexual behavior. Other symptoms may include grandiosity, optimism and an orientation toward action without fear of consequences, which may contribute to decisions of financial or personal issues being made in an imprudent manner. …