Bipolar Disorder - Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorders are...

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Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorders are one of several medical conditions called depressive disorders. Depressive disorders affect the way a person's brain functions. Depressive disorders are widespread. In the United States alone, it's estimated that more than 17.4 million adults have a depressive disorder each year. That works out to about 1 out of every 7 people, so there's a good chance that you or someone you know is dealing with a depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder goes by many names: manic depression, manic-depressive disorder, manic-depressive illness, bipolar mood disorder, and bipolar affective disorder are medical terms for the same condition. Bipolar disorder is classified into four different types: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic Disorder, or Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Mental health experts separate the condition into these four types because the symptoms of bipolar disorder show up differently in different people. When doctors know what type someone has, they can tailor treatment to that person's specific needs. How Does It Affect People? Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder. Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder don't always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults. Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just "snap out of it," as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to. Bipolar disorder isn't a sign of weakness or a character flaw; it's a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.
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What Are the Signs and Symptoms? A person with bipolar disorder will go through episodes of
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Bipolar Disorder - Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorders are...

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