Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that manifests with extreme mood swings. These mood swings range from mania (extreme elation) to depression. Bipolar often appears in a person’s teens and early 20s, but there is now increasing attention to those diagnosed later in life. Older adults who discover they are bipolar may have been misdiagnosed throughout their lives or maybe just exhibiting initial symptoms of the condition. There is an ongoing effort to understand bipolar disorder in later life and learn how to treat it.

Defining Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder affects a person’s mental state. It can cause episodes of mania and depression. These episodes can have a negative impact on all aspects of your life. A person struggling with bipolar disorder can be in a state of extreme joy or extreme despair. These episodes can alter a person’s ability to function. This, in turn, can make it difficult to sustain healthy relationships, keep jobs, and live a stable life.

Researchers are not sure what causes bipolar disorder or why it only affects some people. Genetics, brain functioning, and environment are factors that likely contribute to the disorder.

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