Depression - What is Bipolar Disorder?
The distinguishing characteristic of Bipolar Disorder, as compared to
other mood disorders, is the presence of at least one manic episode.
Additionally, it is presumed to be a chronic condition because the vast
majority of individuals who have one manic episode have additional
episodes in the future. The statistics suggest that four episodes in ten
years is an average, without preventative treatment. Every individual
with bipolar disorder has a unique pattern of mood cycles, combining
depression and manic episodes, that is specific to that individual, but
predictable once the pattern is identified. Research studies suggest a
strong genetic influence in bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and
continues throughout life. It is often not recognized as a psychological
problem, because it is episodic. Consequently, those who have it may
suffer needlessly for years without treatment.