Bipolar Disorder is characterized by several mood disorders, the most notable of all being Bipolar Depression. Bipolar depression is marked by at least one "manic episode," and is assumed to be a chronic condition due to the fact that most individuals who suffer from a manic episode almost certainly suffer more in the future. Without preventative treatment, a person suffering from Bipolar Disorder may suffer a manic episode every two and a half years, as shown by statistics. He/she would present a unique mood cycle (one that usually combines manic episodes and periods of depression) that can be predicted once it is identified. Studies have suggested that it occurs much more widely in families with a history of the Disorder.
Bipolar Depression usually begins during a patient’s teenage years or early adulthood, and persists throughout the rest of his/her life. Bipolar Depression occurs in episodes and is often dismissed as something temporary, rather than as a serious psychological problem. Individuals with Bipolar Disorder may suffer from it for years without treatment as a result. Mania and depression are known to be the two polar opposites of human emotion, thus giving rise to the term "Bipolar." The term describes the severe mood swings between these two emotional poles.
The Bi polar Disorder is also known as "Bi polar Affective Disorder," "Bipolar Personality Disorder," "Bipolar Mood Disorder," "Manic Depression," and "Manic Depressive Illness," all of which refer to the same psychological problem. At any moment, slightly more than one out of every hundred Americans suffer from Bi polar Depression. In a manic episode, a person may feel euphoric, excessively happy, and hyperactive. Some individuals may even display delusions of grandeur.
When the manic phase passes into the "depressed phase," the individual’s mood changes drastically. He/she may then experience deep sadness and despair, and may even harbor thoughts of suicide. These unusually severe mood swings occur to individuals suffering from Bipolar Depression many times during their lives, although the frequency may vary greatly from person to person. Some may experience several of these episodes in a single year, while others may only experience one or two in a lifetime.
Not all episodes begin in the manic phase, however – an episode may begin in with the sufferer falling into a deep depressive phase, which eventually gives way to the manic phase. Most Bipolar Depression patients experience their first severe mood swing in their teenage years or early twenties – some have even been found to suffer their first episode before the age of ten. All in all, most patients experience their first attack of Bipolar Depression before the age of 50. Onsets of the problem during the 70’s and 80’s are rare, although they do happen. No matter the individual’s age, Bipolar Depression affects both susceptible men and women in nearly equal numbers.
Many sufferers - especially those unaware of their condition - may use drugs or alcohol during manic episodes in an attempt to treat themselves. This often results in the development of secondary substance abuse problems, which only serve to aggravate their condition. On the other hand, some studies have found significant links between creativity and Bipolar Depression, albeit very unclear ones. One study indicated an increased drive towards achieving personal goals in individuals suffering from Bipolar Depression. While not always the case, individuals with suffering from it also tend to be more extroverted and outgoing than those without. Bipolar Depression has also been found in a large number of individuals involved in the arts, and studies are currently being taken to discover why many creative geniuses have Bipolar Depression.