Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is one of the mental illnesses designated as mood disorders. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 5.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But this likely represents a small portion of the actual number of sufferers, because many people go undiagnosed. Indeed, experts have suggested that about one in five families has a family member who has or will experience a manic episode or depression.
Consistent with the designation bipolar, this illness is typically apparent as two extreme moods; depression and mania. Individuals with bipolar disorder may experience mild mania, or hypomania, in which individuals are energetic but usually functional. More severe mania may lead to impulsive, often self-destructive,...Read more