Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness marked by unusual mood changes. They go from very happy, “up,” and active (mania) to very sad and hopeless, “down,” and inactive (depression), and then back again, broken up by normal moods in between. The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t always clear, although it can run in families. Bipolar disorder often starts in the late teen or early adult years. But young children and older adults can have bipolar disorder too. Bipolar disorder usually lasts a lifetime and, if not treated, can lead to damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. However, medicine and talk therapy are effective treatments to control symptoms. A combination usually works best.

Page last modified: June 30, 2017
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