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Bipolar Disorder

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.


Bipolar disorder

is a long-term chemical imbalance that causes rapid changes in mood and behavior. High moods are called mania. Low moods are called depression. Sometimes you will feel manic and sometimes you will feel depressed. You can have alternating episodes of mania and depression. This is called a mixed bipolar state.

Call 911 if:

  • You think about hurting yourself or someone else.

Contact your healthcare provider or psychiatrist if:

  • You are having trouble managing your bipolar disorder.
  • You cannot sleep, or are sleeping all the time.
  • You cannot eat, or are eating more than usual.
  • You feel dizzy or your stomach is upset.
  • You cannot make it to your next meeting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Common signs and symptoms of mania:

  • Being easily distracted or agitated, or focusing all your attention on a goal
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping) or not needing as much sleep as usual
  • Inflated self-esteem or belief in abilities
  • Racing thoughts that may not make sense or be understood by others
  • Speech that is faster than usual, or you talk more than usual
  • Increased thoughts about sex
  • Happy and care free, with a sudden change to anger or irritability
  • Hallucinations that cause you to see and hear things that are not really there

Common signs and symptoms of depression:

  • Anger, worry, anxiousness, or irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Sadness or emptiness
  • Crying for long periods
  • Low self-esteem or sense of worthlessness
  • Negative thoughts or not caring about anything
  • Too much or too little sleep

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options


for bipolar disorder may include medicines to control your mood swings. You may need to see a therapist or psychiatrist regularly for counseling. You may need to go into the hospital for tests and treatment.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or psychiatrist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage bipolar disorder:

Watch for triggers of bipolar disorder symptoms, such as stress. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing, to manage your stress. Tell someone if you feel a manic or depressive period might be coming on. Ask a friend or family member to help watch you for bipolar symptoms. Work to develop skills that will help you manage bipolar disorder. You may need to make lifestyle changes. Ask your healthcare provider or psychiatrist for resources.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.