Major affective disorder 1 also known as bipolar disorder, is a mental health condition that causes extreme shifts in mood and behavior. Bipolar disorder is characterized by manic “highs” followed by depressive “lows.”
Episodes can last anywhere from hours to weeks and both kinds of episodes display different symptoms. The manic state usually includes high energy, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and reckless behavior, and the depressive state may include thoughts of suicide or self-harm, low energy, a feeling of hopelessness, and a lack of motivation to perform everyday tasks. Both manic and depressive episodes may also include hallucinations/delusions for some people. Bipolar disorder usually develops in the late teens or early adult years, as many lifestyle changes tend to happen around that time (i.e. moving out, college, marriage).
Onset of bipolar disorder is associated with genetics, but environmental factors also play a large part. Although there is a strong family history connection with the disorder, there is no one gene that controls susceptibility to bipolar disorder, but a system of genes that “work together.” Due to this, genetic testing to diagnose bipolar disorder susceptibility is not always accurate. Bipolar disorder is usually first diagnosed by talking with a doctor about signs and symptoms, who may then choose to conduct a mental health evaluation and refer the patient to a psychiatrist or other specialist.
Treatment for bipolar disorder may include prescription of mood-stabilizing, antipsychotic, or antidepressant medications. Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is also commonly used along with medication. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with major affective disorder 1/bipolar disorder, speak with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups may also be available for further resources and information.
Description Last Updated: Aug 20, 2018