Treatment of Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families David A. Kahn, M.D., Ruth Ross, M.A., David J. Printz, M.D., and Gary S. Sachs, M.D. Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness) is a severe biological disorder that affects approximately 1.2% of the adult population (more than 2.2 million people in the United Stares). Although the symptoms and severity vary, bipolar disorder almost always has a powerful impact on those who have the illness as well as on their family members, partners, and friends. If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may have many questions about the nature of the illness, its causes, and the treatments that are available. This guide is intended to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about bipolar disorder.
WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?
As human beings, we all experience a variety of moods-happiness, sadness, anger, to name a few. Unpleasant moods and changes in mood are normal reactions in everyday life, and we can often identify the events that caused our mood to change. However, when we experience changes in mood-or extremes of mood that are out of proportion to events or come “out of the blue” and make it hard for us to function, these changes are often the result of a mood disorder.