Abnormal: Not normal (for the person), as referring to behavior or symptom. Deviating from the usual behavior, as seen in a bipolar patient between bipolar episodes.

Acute: Of abrupt onset, possibly in need of emergency care; in reference to an acute bipolar episode.

Aggressive: Angry, possibly violent behavior, referring to manic behavior; specifically, aggressive (possibly psychotic) behavior during a bipolar manic episode.

Alcohol dependence: Use/misuse/abuse of alcohol by a person with Bipolar Disorder to 'self-medicate' the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Sometimes referred to as alcohol addiction, substance abuse, 'dual disorder,' 'co-morbid disorder,' ('co-morbidity'), or 'codependency.'

Anticonvulsant: Medication traditionally used to control (prevent) seizures/convulsions or to stop an ongoing series of seizures, but now found to be effective in people who have Bipolar Disorder. Anticonvulsants are used for their mood stabilizing effects in people with bipolar.

Antidepressant: Medication used with people who have Bipolar Disorder to prevent and/or treat acute bipolar depressive episodes, or the symptoms of depression in patients who have Bipolar Disorder.

Antipsychotic: Medication typically used for schizophrenia patients, but also found successful in treating people who have the psychotic features (delusions, hallucinations, paranoia) of Bipolar Disorder.

Anxiety: Feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by physical symptoms such as: sweating, increased heart rate, and feelings of stress. Sometimes reported as symptom of Bipolar Disorder, usually bipolar manic episode.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Related (possible co-morbid) disorder of Bipolar Disorder. Symptoms are: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention, which is sometimes confused with bipolar manic episodes (especially in children).

Atypical: Not typical, not usual, not normal. Usually used in reference to behavior of the person with Bipolar Disorder. Also used in reference to Atypical Antipsychotic medications used to treat patients with Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar Disorder: Type of mood disorder which involves extreme mood swings from 'high highs' to 'low lows' – cycles of mania alternating with cycles of depression. These are called 'episodes,' or bipolar manic episodes and bipolar depressive episodes.

Bipolar I Disorder: Bipolar Disorder in someone who has experienced depression and at least one episode of severe mania. Severe mania characteristically causes significant distress or greatly impairs one's work, family, or social life.

Bipolar II Disorder: Bipolar Disorder in someone who has experienced depression and at least one episode of hypomania, but not severe mania . Hypomanic episodes characteristically do not cause significant distress or greatly impair one's work, family, or social life.

Circadian Rhythm: Body’s internal clock, which is upset when sleep cycle is irregular or not consistent. When circadian rhythm is 'off,' bipolar episode can be triggered. (see Social Rhythm Disruption)

Chronic: Recurrent – keeps happening over and over again, or for long periods of time. This refers mostly to bipolar episodes or to a chronic disease or illness, as in Bipolar Disorder being a chronic disorder, one for which there is no cure.

Co-morbidity: The existence of additional illnesses or disorders along with Bipolar Disorder.

Co-occurring Disorders: Another name for co-morbidity.

Delusions: Psychotic term referring, in general, to the belief in false ideas. Also used as 'delusions of grandeur,' in referring to one of the symptoms of bipolar mania, when the person believes they are more important than they are.

Depressive Episode: 'Low swing' cycle of Bipolar Disorder, where the patient has symptoms of increased sad moods and feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest in usual pleasurable activities, decreased sex drive, decreased energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, decreased appetite, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM): Manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that classifies and defines different psychiatric diagnoses and lists the criteria for them – used by psychiatrists to diagnose patients.

Dysthymia (Dysthymic Disorder): Type of depression associated with Bipolar Disorder characterized by a lack of enjoyment/pleasure in life that continues for at least two years. Differs from clinical depression in the severity of the symptoms. Involves long-term, chronic symptoms that are not totally disabling, but still keep a person from functioning at 'full steam' or from feeling good. This disorder can, though not always, prevent a person from functioning, affecting his/her sleep pattern and daily activities.

Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT): In Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT), an electric current is passed through the patient’s brain to produce a seizure. The goal is to relieve the severe depression experienced by the patient with Bipolar Disorder.

Euphoria: Elevated mood. An excessive degree of euphoria that is not linked to events is characteristic of hypomania or mania, abnormal mood states associated with Bipolar Disorder.

Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that are not there. One of the types of psychotic behavior (psychotic symptoms) associated with Bipolar Disorder.

Hyperactivity: A higher than normal level of activity. One of the symptoms of a bipolar manic episode.

Hypomania: Condition similar to bipolar mania but less severe. Symptoms are similar to mania: elevated mood, increased activity, decreased need for sleep, grandiosity, racing thoughts, etc. However, hypomanic episodes differ in that they do not cause significant distress or impair the person’s work, family, or social life in an obvious way, whereas bipolar manic episodes do.

Insomnia: Inability to sleep or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; un-refreshing sleep; and/or or waking up too early in the morning. Insomnia is common in people who have Bipolar Disorder, especially during bipolar manic episodes.

Kindling Effect: The Kindling Effect is a theory that each bipolar episode triggers future episodes, making them both more likely and more severe.

Major Depression: Disorder in and of itself; however, can also describe the degree of depression a person with Bipolar Disorder suffers when in a bipolar depressive episode.

Mania (Manic): Abnormally elevated mood state (bipolar manic episode) characterized by such symptoms as: inappropriate elation, increased irritability, severe insomnia, grandiose notions, increased speed and/or volume of speech, disconnected and racing thoughts, increased sexual desire, markedly increased energy and activity level, poor judgment, and inappropriate social behavior. NOTE: A mild form in mania that does not require hospitalization is termed hypomania (see above). Mania that also features symptoms of depression is called a 'Mixed State.'

Mixed State: Form of Bipolar Disorder in which symptoms of both bipolar mania and bipolar depression exist at the same time.

Mood Stabilizers: Mood stabilizing medications used with patients who have Bipolar Disorder to help regulate the mood swings characteristic of the disorder.

NIMH: Stands for the National Institute of Mental Health, one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States, whose mission is to 'provide national leadership dedicated to understanding, treating, and preventing mental illnesses through basic research on the brain and behavior, and through clinical, epidemiological, and services research.' NIMH has a website on the Internet that provides much helpful material for people who have Bipolar Disorder.

Paranoia (Paranoid Ideation): Thinking involving suspiciousness, or the belief that the person is being unfairly treated, harassed, or persecuted. In some cases, this may be so extreme that the person can no longer distinguish reality correctly, and then it becomes one of the psychotic symptoms of a bipolar manic episode.

Psychosis: In the general sense, a mental illness that markedly interferes with a person's capacity to meet life's everyday demands. In a specific sense, it refers to a thought disorder in which a person has delusions and hallucinations, and/or paranoia, which are symptoms sometimes found with people who have Bipolar Disorder during a bipolar manic episode.

Psychotherapy: Therapeutic treatment of a behavior disorder, mental illness, or any other condition by psychological means. Psychotherapy may utilize insight, persuasion, suggestion, reassurance, and instruction so that patients may see themselves and their problems more realistically and have the desire to cope effectively with them. There are several types of psychotherapy. (see Therapy)

Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder: When four or more episodes of Bipolar Disorder occur within a 12-month period, the individual is said to have Bipolar Disorder with rapid cycling. A person with Bipolar Disorder may also cycle between the two extremes of mood (mania and depression) several times in a given day, and this is also called rapid-cycling.

Recur: To occur again. To return. Any symptom or sign, or any disease can recur. Used with Bipolar Disorder to refer to when an episode happens again, it is said to 'recur.'

Recurrence: The return of a sign, symptom or disease after a remission. The reappearance of symptoms of Bipolar Disorder after a period of absence is said to be a 'recurrence of an episode.'

Recurrent: Back again. Recurrent episodes of Bipolar Disorder are a negative sign for someone who has the disorder – it usually means that they are 'treatment-resistant.' (see below)

Referral: The recommendation of a health care professional to a mental health care professional; for example, in relation to Bipolar Disorder, this would be your family doctor referring you to a psychiatrist. For most insurance companies (and Medicaid/Medicare) today, a referral is what you will need to get the mental health care necessary for your treatment.

Relapse: Return of signs and symptoms of a disease after a patient has enjoyed a remission . Regarding Bipolar Disorder, relapse is another word for recurrence.

Residual: Something left behind. With Bipolar Disorder, this will refer to symptoms still remaining after the bipolar episode is over (i.e., residual symptoms).

Side effects: Negative (undesired) problems that occur from medications taken for Bipolar Disorder. Side effects need to be reported to doctor or psychiatrist immediately.

Sleep Cycle: The body's rest cycle. (see also: Circadian Rhythm, and Social Rhythm Disruption) . If this is disrupted, or in any way abnormal, it can trigger a bipolar episode.

Social Rhythm Disruption: Disturbance in the sleep/wake cycle caused by a change in routine. This can trigger a bipolar episode.

Stress: Forces from the outside world impinging on the individual, and his/her sense of (emotional) balance. Stress can cause significant problems in the person who has Bipolar Disorder, and is one of the main triggers that can cause a bipolar episode.

Substance abuse: Excessive use of a substance, usually alcohol or drugs. This is sometimes called 'self-medicating of symptoms' when referring to Bipolar Disorder.

Suicidal Ideologies (Ideation): Pertaining to suicide. The taking of one’s own life – as in a suicidal gesture, suicidal thought, or suicidal act. Suicidal Ideations (Ideology): Having thoughts of suicide; intention or behavior that suggests the person is going to take his/her own life. Suicide : The deliberate act of causing ones own death.

Syndrome: Set of signs and symptoms that tend to occur together and which reflect the presence of a particular disease or an increased chance of developing a particular disease – as in Bipolar Syndrome.

Therapy: The general name for psychotherapy. Therapy is the treatment of an illness – may include medication, psychotherapy, and other forms of treatment combined.

Treatment-Resistant: Treatment-resistant Bipolar Disorder refers to a worsening of the disorder, with an occurrence of more frequent and severe episodes, even when bipolar medications are still being taken regularly by the patient.

Trigger: A trigger is any person, thing or event that causes a person to go into a bipolar episode. Some examples of triggers are: alcohol and/or drugs, relationships, stress, changes in sleep patterns, and/or going off or changing your medications.

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