Bipolar disorder is a common psychiatric disorder for which effective treatment exists, but sadly a high proportion of bipolar individuals remain untreated, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and endure considerable suffering from increasing disability over time. A recent study demonstrated larger loss of gray matter (brain tissue) in bipolar persons than other people. As well a high level of correlation was discovered between the amount of loss and the quantity of manic episodes, tending towards the chance that manic depression is a disease of the brain.
Those who suffer from bipolar are frequently extremely intelligent, imaginative and high achievers as demonstrated by the number of famous people in history with bipolar disorder. However as bipolar inhibits cognitive functioning, which is the ability to think, recollect and rationalize normally), unrestrained bipolar can contribute to mediocre work functioning and trouble in remaining gainfully employed. For this reason, there is a significantly greater percentage of unemployment amongst bipolar persons.
The illness is difficult to diagnose and treat as often it doesn’t come about in isolation and is therefore compounded by additional components such as drug, alcohol abuse, gambling, or promiscuity. Whether one leads to the other or vice versa has not yet been established but the most plausible view is that bipolar is accountable for this relationship.
Bipolar disorder is defined by excessive mood swings between the upward highs on the manic side and the deep lows of depression and sometimes periods of normalcy in-between. Depending upon the type, length and relative frequency of episodes, bipolar may be classified as bipolar i disorder, Bipolar ii disorder or rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Episodes on the high side can be manic, hypomanic or mixed, while episodes on the low side may be depressive or mixed.
There also seems to be a correlation between neurological and physical problems that appear to be more prevailing in bipolar disorder as opposed to the general population such as anxiety disorders and ADHD. While individuals with manic depression can remain normal for long stretches of time, symptoms of the mania or depressive extremes will emerge and can increase in frequency with age.