Bipolar Disorder

Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by alternating periods of mania and depression. During a manic episode, patients may become excited, agitated, hyperactive or extremely energetic; during a depressive episode, a dramatic swing into an extended period of “low mood” occurs. Bipolar disorder is typically treated with a combination of drugs and psychotherapy. Drug treatments aim to stabilize moods so that the swings between mania and depression are limited and less intense. Psychotherapy typically takes the form of cognitive-behavior therapy, which aims to help patients recognize signs of an impending mood swing and be proactive about minimizing the impact.