If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, please click the ‘Participate’ button at the bottom of the page to begin the enrollment process. General information about this disorder is outlined below.
Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is defined by the condition’s distinguishing feature: the manic episode. A manic episode is characterized by a persistently excited or irritable state, along with prolonged, goal-directed activity—both lasting at least seven (7) days. During this time, three (or more) of the following symptoms prevail:
- An overblown sense of self-importance
- A decreased need for sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Increased goal-oriented activity
- Excessive involvement in high-risk behavior
A manic episode clearly deviates from the individual’s usual behavior and prevents him/her from engaging in regular social interactions and day-to-day activities. A manic episode may or may not have been preceded by a depressive episode, and a depressive episode may or may not follow the onset of a manic episode. However, it has been observed that in most cases, an episode of mania is eventually followed by an episode of depression. A depressive episode is characterized by an unjustified sadness and/or a loss of interest or pleasure lasting at least two (2) weeks. During this time, five (or more) of the following symptoms are observed:
- Feeling worthless
- Compromised concentration and a preoccupation with death
- Significant weight loss/weight gain
- Psychomotor disruptions
- Suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide
Eighteen years is the average reported age of an individual’s first manic episode, though the onset of bipolar disorder may occur in childhood or adulthood–as late as one’s 60’s and 70’s. More than 90% of individuals who experience one manic episode eventually have more in their lifetime. About 60% of manic episodes are followed by a depressive episode thereafter. Females with bipolar disorder are more likely to experience depressive symptoms than males. They’re also more likely to experience certain exacerbations of the disorder, such as a rapid alternation of episodes (manic to depressive), higher rates of eating disorders, and a higher risk of Alcohol Use Disorder.
Disclaimer: Do not use this as a guideline to diagnose yourself. These are only the most common symptoms of this disorder as detailed by the DSM-V; there may be others that are not included here. If you believe to be suffering from this or any other illness or disorder, please consult a physician.