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Bipolar disorder sign on a paper and glasses.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

By Syed Qadri, MD October 28, 2019 Posted in: Mental Health


Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness within the brain. More than 5 million Americans have bipolar disorder which consists of mood swings that involve major highs and lows.

There are two types of bipolar disorder - Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 is where the person experiences manic episodes, and type 2 is where the person experiences hypo-manic episodes and depression.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but there are several factors which contribute, such as genetic predisposition (it runs in families), abnormalities of the brain, a chemical imbalance in the brain, stress, abuse, psychological trauma. All of these factors contribute to either causing or putting someone at risk of developing bipolar disorder.

What Are The Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can vary from person to person, but examples include:

  • Their mood may be irritable, agitated, elated, or euphoric.
  • They can be easily distracted and unable to focus
  • These people may not sleep, but have a lot of energy
  • They may display grandiose or risky behavior, such as using drugs or alcohol
  • These people may feel like they're on the top of the world
  • Their mood is either depressed or hopeless
  • They are unable to concentrate
  • Their energy level is down
  • They may have increased guilt
  • They are unable to sleep or they may sleep for an excessive amount of time
  • Their appetite may go down and they may lose weight
  • Their appetite may increase and they may gain a lot of weight
  • They may have suicidal thoughts

Complications if Bipolar Disorder is Left Untreated

If a person with bipolar disorder doesn’t get treatment on time they are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, more likely to get into legal problems, have difficulty coping at work or losing their job, grades go down, have relationship problems, and other similar issues. If they continue to experience bipolar symptoms without treatment, they are at a high risk of either hurting themselves or others.

Where Can You Get Help?

If you have this disorder and are experiencing these symptoms, please call your primary care physician, counselor, therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. If you have suicidal thoughts or are thinking of hurting others, please call 911.

For more resources at CHI Health, please call (402) 717-HOPE at anytime, or learn more about our CHI Health Behavioral Care services.

Syed Qadri, MD
Syed Qadri, MD

Dr. Syed Qadri is a psychiatrist at CHI Health's Lasting Hope Recovery Center. To learn more about Dr. Qadri, please visit his provider profile.

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