Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that consists of manic and depressive episodes which are essentially periods of high and low moods. While the symptoms tend to vary from person to person, overall these episodes are known to be accompanied by other symptoms that affect their energy levels, mood, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Bipolar disorder is a very complex condition that can be difficult to deal with. Similar to many other illnesses, it affects not only affects the person who’s been diagnosed, but also anyone close to them like friends and family. A diagnosis isn’t always easy and that’s because there are five different classifications of bipolar disorder: bipolar I disorder (manic-depressive disorder), bipolar 2 disorder (hypomania), cyclothymia, rapid cycling, and lastly bipolar NOS disorder.
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To simplify things, we’ve compiled a list of everything there is to know about bipolar disorder and each of the different classifications. Let’s take a look…
1. What is Bipolar I Disorder?
Bipolar I disorder is also sometimes referred to as manic-depressive disorder or manic depression. It’s a form of mental illness that refers to a person who suffers from, or has experienced at least one manic episode in his or her life. WebMD defines a manic episode as “a period of abnormally elevated mood and high energy, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.”
People who suffer from bipolar I disorder often also suffer from depression or episodes of depression. These episodes of mania and depression can occur back and forth creating a cycling pattern which is why the term “manic depression” was coined. While this condition might sound like it is debilitating (and it’s definitely not easy), people who have this condition can live relatively normal lives in between their manic and depressive episodes.