What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that can cause unusual shifts in mood, energy level, thinking, and behavior. People with disorder often experience episodes of very extreme “highs” called mania and periods of intense irritability or depression. Sometimes they hear, see, or think unusual things referred to as being psychotic.

I have mood swings so am I bipolar?

Maybe but probably not…. Everyone has good and bad moods depending on what is going on that day. However what separates Bipolar Disorder is the length of time it lasts; how debilitating, unpredictable, and extreme the symptoms are; and how it affects things like sleep, speech, and other behaviors.

Am I too young or too old for bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder occurs in all age groups. Previously it was thought that Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents was an extremely rare condition. However more people in this population are being diagnosed and recent studies suggest the incidence of Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents can be as high as 1 %.

Bipolar Disorder, Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill

What puts me at risk of having bipolar disorder?

Many episodes occur without an obvious or identifiable causes. Traumatic or stressful life events can trigger an episode in people who are genetically vulnerable.

Why should I get evaluated?

  • Children: more likely to have problems in school, at home, and with friends.
  • Adults: more at risk for divorce, unplanned pregnancies, legal or financial difficulties, and conflicts at work.
  • Substance use: Up to 60% of people abuse alcohol or drugs at some point in the course of their illness.
  • Health problems: increased incidence of heart problems, diabetes, migraine headaches, and hypothyroidism.
  • Suicide: 1 in 4 people with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide, at least once; 1 in 10 will ultimately die by suicide.

If you would like to consult with one of our psychiatrists about your mood symptoms, please give us a call at 919-636-5240 option #1 or email office@cognitive-psychiatry.com.