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Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder go through unusual mood changes. Sometimes they feel very happy and "up," and are much more active than usual. This is called mania. And sometimes people with bipolar disorder feel very sad and "down," and are much less active. This is called depression. Bipolar disorder can also cause changes in energy and behavior.

People with bipolar disorder can get treatment. With help, they can get better and lead successful lives.

Call 1-800-LIFENET
Lifenet is a free, confidential help line for New York City residents. You can call 24 hours per day/7 days a week. The staff of trained mental health professionals help callers find mental health and substance abuse services.
► 1-877-AYUDESE (1-877-298-3373) in Espanõl
► 1-877-990-8585 for Korean and Chinese callers (Mandarin & Cantonese )
► 1-212-982-5284 (TTY for hearing impaired)

Bipolar disorder is not the same as the normal ups and downs everyone goes through. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful than that. They can damage relationships and make it hard to go to school or keep a job. Some people with bipolar disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
Bipolar mood changes are called "mood episodes." People may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or "mixed" episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms. These mood episodes cause symptoms that last a week or two-sometimes longer. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day.

Mood episodes are intense. The feelings are strong and happen along with extreme changes in behavior and energy levels.

People having a manic episode may:
  • Feel very "up" or "high"
  • Feel "jumpy" or "wired"
  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things
  • Be agitated, irritable, or "touchy"
  • Have trouble relaxing or sleeping
  • Think they can do a lot of things at once and are more active than usual
  • Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex

People having a depressive episode may:

  • Feel very "down" or sad
  • Feel worried and empty
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Forget things a lot
  • Lose interest in fun activities and become less active
  • Feel tired or "slowed down"
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Think about death or suicide

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