Understanding BIPOLAR Disorder:
Bipolar Disorder is a disorder of mood regulation displayed through cycles of mania and depression. This means that sometimes the person would experience symptoms of depression (feelings of unworthiness, changes in sleep patterns, changes in eating patterns, sadness/crying, etc.) and symptoms of mania (feelings of euphoria, excessive involvement in activities, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, etc.).
Frequency: Bipolar spectrum disorder impacts 3-6 percent of the population. These rates are often higher in our population!
Things to note: Bipolar disorder is on a spectrum so the experience of Bipolar will vary from person to person. There are also several different types of Bipolar Disorders.
Bipolar 1- This is marked by well defined symptoms of mania and depression.
Bipolar 2- This is similar but limited to hypomanic states (less severe manic state).
Cyclothymia- This is marked by rapid changing of manic and depressive cycles, but it tends to be less severe.
Takeaway points: You may be working with someone that has Bipolar disorder. The best treatment is normally medication and therapy. Unfortunately, bipolar is associated with an increased suicide risk. Please be mindful of the fluctuations the person may experience in mood and reach out with any questions or concerns!
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.