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Bipolar Sufferers Likely To Indulge In Drug Abuse, Commit Suicide

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental illness that involves the sufferer having at least one manic (overly excited or irritable mood) or nearly manic (hypomanic) episode, Medicinenet.com reported recently.


Photo Insert: Bipolar depression can result in sufferers wanting, planning, or attempting to kill themselves or someone else, while manic symptoms can include the sufferer having a grossly excessive sense of well-being or abilities, racing thoughts, decreased sleep, and speech that is rapid to the point of being hard to decipher.



The mood swings of this condition can last for weeks at a time and cause significant work and relationship problems. This illness affects up to 5% of adults in the United States, afflicting men and women equally.


The depressive symptoms that may be experienced in bipolar disorder are those of any major depressive episode, including significant sadness, irritability, hopelessness, and an increase or decrease in appetite, weight, or sleep. Bipolar depression can result in sufferers wanting, planning, or attempting to kill themselves or someone else.



The manic symptoms of bipolar disorder can include the sufferer having a grossly excessive sense of well-being or abilities, racing thoughts, decreased sleep, and speech that is rapid to the point of being hard to decipher. Manic individuals may also engage in unwise activities such as excessive sexual behaviors or spending.


In order to receive the diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, a person must experience at least one full-blown manic episode in their lifetime. Individuals with bipolar II disorder experience at least one hypomanic episode, in that they have symptoms less severe than fully manic symptoms.


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Many people with bipolar disorder also have mixed features associated with their mood swings. This involves experiencing symptoms of depression during manic or hypomanic episodes. While no single cause of bipolar disorder has been identified, there are a number of factors that contribute to the development of this illness. Decreases in the activity of different parts of the brain have been observed when individuals with bipolar disorder are having depressive or manic episodes.


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The symptoms of bipolar disorder tend to have two peaks of when they begin: Between 15 and 25 and from 45-54 years of age. Other risk factors for bipolar disorder include having a close family history of depression or bipolar disorder (mood disorder) or a family history of substance abuse disorder. Life stressors such as abuse may also trigger the onset of bipolar disorder.


Having bipolar disorder can increase the likelihood of the sufferer developing a substance-abuse problem from 22% to more than 50%. Some people with bipolar disorder may drink to numb their manic or depressive symptoms, a behavior often referred to as self-medicating. Up to 10% of people with bipolar disorder commit suicide, 10 times the risk of people who have no mental-health disorder.



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