About 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 are more severe than the normal ups-and-downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar Disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But Bipolar Disorder can be treated. A combination of professional counseling and medication helps most people live productive and fulfilling lives.

Bipolar Disorder symptoms are sometimes not recognized as parts of a larger problem, so it can be years before a person is properly diagnosed and treated. While some experience symptoms during childhood, Bipolar Disorder often develops in a person’s late teens or early adult years. It has been reported that at least half of all cases start before age 25.

Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life. Bipolar Disorder mood changes are called episodes, and people usually shift from manic to depressive episodes.

People with Bipolar Disorder Tend to Experience:

Excessively “high”, euphoric mood; Extreme irritability; Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers, such as feeling able to control world events; Decreased need for sleep without feeling tired; Racing thoughts or fast speech; Distractibility or difficulty concentrating; Agitation; Spending sprees; Increasing sadness or feeling very “down”; Worried or empty feelings; Difficulty concentrating; A tendency to forget things a lot; A lost interest in fun activities and a tendency to be less active; Trouble sleeping; Thoughts about of death or suicide.

Explore More

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Kay Redfield Jamison (January 14, 1997)

Daughter of the Queen of Sheba

Jacki Lyden (October 1, 1998)

The Years of Silence Are Past

Stephan P. Hinshaw (October 2002)*

Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania

Andy Behrman (February 11, 2003)

Hurry Down Sunshine: A Father’s Story of Love and Madness

Michael Greenberg (September 9, 2008)

Blue Genes: A Memoir of Loss & Survival

Christopher Lukas (October 6, 2009)

Perfect Chaos

Linea Johnson and Cinda Johnson (May 8, 2012)

Infinitely Polar Bear


Talk About Bipolar Disorder With an Artist

Bring Change 2 Mind

Michael Angelakos #Stronger Than Stigma

Bring Change 2 Mind + Michael Angelakos

How to Talk About Bipolar Disorder With Anyone

Bring Change 2 Mind

Brandon Marshall #Stronger Than Stigma

Bring Change 2 Mind + Brandon Marshall

The Mental Illness Happy Hour


Mentally Ch(ill)

Kristen Carney + Stevie Ryan

What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?

Ruby Wax (2012)

*Books Authored / Edited by Bring Change 2 Mind Advisory Council Members

Additional Resources

Looking for more ways to help yourself or another? Take a look at the categories below to find a list of links to get you started in the right direction. 

Find out how to talk to anyone about mental health.

Check out our Talk Tool for guidance.