It is estimated that approximately 5.7 million Americans have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder, manic depression and bipolar depression are some of the other names given to bipolar disorder. The main feature of this mood disorder is that the person suffering from this finds himself alternating between euphoric states such as  mania states and depression states. Each state has its own set of symptoms and such symptoms make the normal functioning of the individual very difficult and challenging. All aspects of personal life including the career, interpersonal relationships and family life can get devastated because of this disorder,. but the good thing is that bipolar disorder is completely curable and a good experienced psychiatrist will be able to help the affected person. There are several people who have bipolar disorder yet manage to live fruitful and peaceful lives. Bipolar disorder cannot be treated with medication alone. It has been proven that a combination of medication, social support and therapy is most effective in treating bipolar disorder.

The symptoms of the depression stage are quite clear and the person suffering from bipolar disorder shows signs of hopelessness and apathy. Guilt is another feeling exhibited by these patients. The person also loses interest in doing things which would have given him immense pleasure earlier. He/she also loses their appetite or gains it and this causes fluctuations in weight. The main difference between the depression stage of bipolar disorder and normal depression is that in bipolar disorder, the person will be alternating between depression and the emotional highs. These extremes are one of the major characteristics of bipolar disorder.

The other stage of bipolar disorder is the state of mania or complete euphoria. In this state, the person is extremely happy and optimistic about things.  Also, he/she will experience increased belief in his powers and abilities. During this state, the person suffering from bipolar disorder finds it hard to get sleep and is restless most of the time. Concentration too is significantly impaired due to  racing thoughts.  He also tends to talk and think faster than normal. Euphoria makes the person behave very recklessly and often causes great danger.  He might also seem a bit impulsive at times and may make a few rash decisions.

The good thing is that bipolar disorder is treatable. With the help of a good psychiatrist and proper medication, the mood swings experienced by individuals suffering from bipolar disorder can be put under control and they would be able to lead normal, healthy lives.  

Changes in medication, lifestyle, therapy and family support are very essential in the successful treatment of bipolar disorder. . Medications are generally effective in stabilizing as well as regulating their mood swings.

Lithium is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for people suffering from bipolar disease. Anticonvulsant medications like Valproat and carbamazepine are also used as they too have a mood stabilizing effect.