* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
- Bipolar affective disorder
- Bipolar illness
- Major affective disorder
- Manic depression
- Manic-depressive psychosis
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Bipolar disorder is a type of mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, sleep and behavior. Signs and symptoms typically include alternating periods of manic episodes (joyful or excited states) and depressive episodes (very sad, hopeless or empty states). Mood episodes may also include symptoms of both mania and depression (a mixed state). It often develops in the late teens or early adult years, but age of onset can range from childhood to late in life. Bipolar disorder can run in families, although no single gene is thought to cause the condition. Many factors acting together likely increase a person's risk to develop the disorder. Treatment may include medication and psychotherapy for preventing relapses and reducing the severity of symptoms.
Last updated: 11/18/2011
- Bipolar Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. September 28, 2011; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-index.shtml. Accessed 11/18/2011.
- MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
- The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.
- The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is dedicated to understanding, treating, and preventing mental illnesses through basic research on the brain and behavior, and through clinical, epidemiological, and services research. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
- Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Bipolar disorder. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.