What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymic Disorder are all in the Bipolar Family.  Bipolar I is the most severe form of the illness.  Bipolar II is similar, with less intense periods of mania.  Cyclothymia is like Bipolar II, with less intense periods of mania and depression.


The presence of a manic episode denotes Bipolar Disorder.  This is when there is a greatly reduced need for sleep, the brain is overfiring on all cylinders, and the body is exploding with energy.  In these times very reckless behavior is often seen.  Also, this is typically when it is believed someone with Bipolar Disorder is at a high risk for committing suicide.


Depression fills the gaps between manic episodes.  Sometimes this depression is so deep that a person cannot garner the energy to shower, or even get out of bed.


Bipolar is a serious mental illness.  Here are a few thoughts on what it is, and what it isn’t.


What is bipolar disorder?

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Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

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