Do you go through intense moods? Do
you feel very happy and energized some
days, and very sad and depressed on other
days? Do these moods last for a week or
more? Do your mood changes make it hard
to sleep, stay focused, or go to work?
Some people with these symptoms have
bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness.
Read this brochure to find out more.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a serious
brain illness. It is also called
illness. 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.
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. They can also be
dangerous. Some people with bipolar disorder try to hurt
themselves or attempt suicide.
People with bipolar disorder can get treatment. With help,
they can get better and lead successful lives.
Who develops bipolar disorder?
Anyone can develop bipolar disorder. It often starts in a person’s
late teen or early adult years. But children and adults can have
bipolar disorder too. The illness usually lasts a lifetime.
What causes bipolar disorder?
Several factors may contribute to bipolar disorder, including:
s	 Genes, because the illness runs in families
s	 Abnormal brain structure and brain function.
The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t always clear. Scientists
are finding out more about the disorder by studying it. This
research may help doctors predict whether a person will
get bipolar disorder. One day, it may also help doctors
prevent the illness in some people.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
Bipolar mood changes are cal