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Bipolar Disorder Facts

Originally Published 05/18/2017

Thomas Robertson, LCSW, CSAC

Originally Appeared in the North Shore News

You may have heard about bipolar disorder on TV, in school, or you may know someone suffering from it. Despite general knowledge of the term there are still many misconceptions about bipolar disorder. This article is a brief introduction to what bipolar disorder is. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) it’s estimated that 2.6% of the population have bipolar disorder. Many of the people that suffer from bipolar disorder are unaware that the problems they face come from this chronic illness, and may go many years before getting help.

There are three major types of bipolar disorder. The severity and frequency of the symptoms determine the type of the disorder. The three types of bipolar disorder include Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymic Disorder. People with one of these diagnoses typically experience episodes of mood swings that range between depression, and mania. When depressed, people may experience sadness, hopelessness, low energy, may sleep more than usual, and may even become suicidal. When manic the person may feel more energetic, have racing thoughts, have difficulty sleeping, and may exhibit more risky behavior.

It’s important to know that while bipolar is an incurable chronic illness, there are medications and treatments that can help control the symptoms. Physicians can prescribe medications that help stabilize moods, and talk-therapy can help people learn to cope and manage changes in moods. In Hawaii we have a 24 hour crisis hotline (832-3100) that people can call if they are having symptoms or are feeling overwhelmed.

This information in this article was gathered from the NIMH website.

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