WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Sometimes symptoms are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school or home.
But bipolar disorder can be managed, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
Bipolar disorder often develops in a person's late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25. Some people have their first symptoms during childhood, while others may develop symptoms later in life.
Bipolar disorder is not easy to identify when it starts. The symptoms may seem like separate problems, not recognised as parts of a larger problem. Some people suffer for years before they receive the support they need. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person's life.