What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, a condition formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, is defined as a mental health condition that induces mood swings from extreme conditions such as mania or hypomania to very low levels such as depression. These mood swings can have consequences for sleep, energy, vitality, daily activities, but can also affect judgment and mental clarity, reaching the point of affecting behavior.

Although we are talking about a chronic condition in the case of bipolar disorder, it is important to emphasize that these mood swings can be managed along with the symptoms of these changes by following a treatment plan. Most often the treatment for bipolar disorder is based on medication and psychotherapy. There are several types of bipolar disorder, as follows:

  1. Bipolar I disorder is characterized by the existence of at least one manic episode, preceded or not by major hypomanic or depressive episodes; there are cases in which anger can lead to psychosis, to breaking reality;
  2. Bipolar II disorder involves the existence of at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic episode, but without any manic episode;
  3. Cyclothymic disorder means at least two years (one year in children and adolescents) with several periods in which hypomanic and depressive symptoms have manifested.
  4. Other types of bipolar disorder include those disorders that are caused by certain drugs or alcohol, but also by other medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke or Cushing's disease.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder involves certain symptoms in both manic and hypomanic episodes, as well as depressive episodes. Symptoms of manic or hypomanic episodes include three of the following: abnormal optimism, increased activity, extreme energy or agitation, euphoria and exaggerated well-being, distraction, unusual wear and tear, reduced need for sleep, or poor decision-making.

In the case of major depressive episode we talk about the inclusion of five or more of the following symptoms: depressive mood (feeling sad, empty, hopeless or irritable in children and adolescents), loss of interest in all activities, weight loss even without diet, weight gain, appetite fluctuations, insomnia or sleeping too much, deep anxiety, slow behavior, loss of energy, fatigue, excessive guilt, loss of concentration, feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts or plans.

Causes of bipolar disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not known. But there are a number of factors that could be involved, such as biological differences and genetic factors. Biological differences refer to the possibility of physical changes in the brain, changes that can lead to the identification of future causes by researchers. In the case of genetic factors, the inheritance of this condition is most often considered from a first-degree relative. Researchers are trying to find genes that could be involved in the cause of bipolar disorder.

Treatment in bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder can be treated with primary treatments that include psychiatric medications and psychotherapy. These treatments are meant to control the symptoms. May include education and support groups. Psychiatric medications such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antidepressants-antipsychotics, or anti-anxiety medications are used to relieve symptoms. These medications can be prescribed in the form of continuous treatment or in the form of day treatment programs. There is also the treatment of substance abuse, and in case of dangerous behaviors, suicidal thoughts or psychoses, you can opt for hospitalization.


For the treatment of bipolar disorder, psychotherapy is an essential part and most of the time several types of psychotherapy are combined. This is how we talk about:

  1. Psihoterapia cognitiv comportamentala care ajuta la identificarea credintelor si a comportamentelor negative si nesanatoase pentru inlocuirea acestora cu unele pozitive si sanatoase, dar si la identificarea cauzelor care declanseaza episoadele bipolare si a strategiilor eficiente in gestionarea stresului.
  2. Psychoeducation involves learning about bipolar disorder to understand the condition. Subsequently, the problems are identified and a plan is developed to prevent the recurrence of bipolar disorders and to comply with treatment.
  3. Family-centered therapy is based on support and communication within the family so that there is support for treatment.