What is Bipolar Disorder I

What is Bipolar 1 Disorder?

Bipolar disorder can significantly affect your life, but it’s treatable, and the sooner it’s treated, the better, so getting a correct diagnosis is important. There are four types of bipolar illness, and all of them involve extreme shifts in mood and energy, but the patterns are different. Patients can have severe, mild or even no depression and can experience either full manic episodes or periods of hypomania, which is milder and less disruptive. Bipolar 1 Disorder is the form of bipolar illness in which individuals experience full mania.


What is mania associated with bipolar 1 disorder?

The primary characteristic of mania is abnormally intense moods and energy. When you’re manic, you may feel euphoric and excited, but you may also feel agitated and irritable. Sometimes the feelings of elation come first, and then you’ll begin to feel out of control and distressed. 

You’ll have so much energy that it’s hard to sleep or pay attention. Sometimes people experiencing mania have delusions or hallucinations in which it’s no longer clear to them what’s real and what isn’t.


Depression and bipolar disorder

To be diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, a person needs to experience a manic episode that lasts at least seven days or is severe enough that they need to be hospitalized. Although people don’t need to experience depression to receive the diagnosis, most individuals with bipolar disorder I do experience major depressive episodes. Johns Hopkins notes that people often first receive a diagnosis of major depressive disorder and only later, often after many years, receive the diagnosis of bipolar 1 disorder.

Depressive episodes generally last at least two weeks and often occur either immediately before or after a period of mania. It’s also possible to have episodes where people have depressive and manic symptoms at the same time. Sometimes individuals with bipolar disorder I have periods of hypomania as well as full mania.  Often, the hypomania will turn into full mania if it’s not addressed quickly.



Experts aren’t sure what causes bipolar disorder. The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that brain structure and function, stress, and genetics all may play a role. The Mayo Clinic adds that drug and alcohol abuse may also increase a person’s risk for developing bipolar disorder or trigger an initial episode.



The treatment for bipolar disorder generally involves both medication and psychotherapy. The bad news about treatment is that sometimes when people are manic, they don’t recognize their need for help. During a manic episode, an individual may not feel sick and often believes they have special knowledge that others don’t. They tend not to see the risks they’re taking or the potential negative consequences of their behavior. 

On the other hand, the good news is that when people realize their need for mental health treatment, they’re likely to have good treatment outcomes. The National Advisory Mental Health Council states that the treatment success rate for bipolar disorder is 80%. 


Get help for yourself or a loved one

At Promises Five Palms, we understand how bipolar disorder can impact you or your loved one’s life. We work with clients to educate, provide coping skills and guide them through their bipolar disorder. 

You are more than your bipolar disorder. We can help you get back to the life you deserve.

Call our recovery specialists today to find out more about your treatment options at 844.675.0962.


By Martha McLaughlin

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