Adult Bipolar Disorder

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) is a mood disorder that causes marked shifts in mood and energy which go way beyond “moodiness.” These shifts are called mood episodes. If severe, the illness has a profound impact on a person’s well-being and disrupts functioning and relationships. Bipolar disorder is caused by abnormalities in the structure, function or chemistry in certain brain areas. Genetic factors almost always play a role. Outside problems may precipitate an episode, but they play no role in causing the condition.

What Are the Symptoms of a Mood Episode?

The symptoms depend on the type of mood episode.

Depressive Episode. The symptoms are the same as those found in major depressive disorder. They include:

  • Deep sadness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities and relationships
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

Manic or Hypomanic Episode. The symptoms may be very severe (mania) or somewhat less severe (hypomania). If you have ever experienced a manic state, you will recognize some of the following:

  • Feeling elated
  • Feeling invulnerable
  • Feeling grandiose. (You feel that you are so special that you can achieve anything)
  • Needing little sleep
  • Thinking very quickly but easily losing your train of thought
  • Having other people say you speak too rapidly and too loudly
  • Exhibiting risky behavior, e.g., spending too freely, driving recklessly or having careless sex.

In the early stages of hypomania, others may see you as magnetic and interesting. A full-blown manic state may lead to arrest or hospitalization.

Cyclothymic Disorder. This is a condition in which the symptoms fall short of those that characterize bipolar disorder but are more severe than simple moodiness.

Consulting with Dr. Turecki

When you contact Dr. Turecki, he will first speak with you by phone to learn more about your concerns. You will then see him for a Comprehensive Evaluation. At the end of the visit, he will share his professional opinion with you, answer your questions and then collaborate with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. The plan will almost always include the use of carefully monitored medication and psychotherapy, with special emphasis on strategies for managing your moods. Alternative approaches can be helpful. Early recognition is very important. Because the early symptoms of hypomania may not be apparent to you, a family member should be involved.