Bipolar disorder is also known as affective disorder, manic depression and mood disorder. Bipolar disorder is basically a psychiatric disorder which is characterized by the occurrence of extreme mood swings between mania and depression. These mood swings can affect one’s life in all its aspects like career, family life and interpersonal relationships. Bipolar disorder even though challenging and painful, is treatable. There are several people with bipolar disorder and yet manage to have peaceful and happy lives. 

The mania stage of bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of extreme elation, euphoria, sleeplessness and reckless behavior. The person might even have grandiose beliefs about his or her ability. The depression state of  bipolar disorder shows symptoms which are exactly the opposite of that of the mania state. The person suffering from bipolar disorder in this state often shows lack of interest and is extremely tired all the time. The person also finds it hard to get up in the morning. The person might also have ideas of suicide and death. Hypomania is also one state which is not as severe as the state of mania.

The main cause of bipolar disorder is not yet completely known. However, research shows that chemical imbalance in sections of the brain might cause bipolar disorder. It is also believed that this disorder can possibly be inherited. If closely related family members have had bipolar disorder, the chances of the child getting it are high. Some people also believe that bipolar disorder may be associated with other related disorders like anxiety disorder.

 The diagnosis of this disorder is not very easy and people are often confused. It is however, advisable to consult a psychiatrist when the signs of bipolar disorder are found. The psychiatrist will be able to provide the right treatment option which will help the person control the symptoms and emotions and lead a normal life. The various options that are available to treat bipolar disorder are: medication, therapy, family and social support.

 The main aim of the treatment is to try and stabilize the mood of the person during the episodes of extreme emotions. However, medication should be taken only under the supervision of the psychiatrist. To treat and to stabilize the emotions during the depression stage, several medications can be used. Antidepressants like Prozac, Effexor, Zoloft and Paxil are found to be effective.

 Psychotherapy is also used to treat the depression and may bring about a seachange. The mania state of  bipolar disorder is  treated using Haldol and Clonazepam (Klonopin) if it is acute. For long term prevention, Lithium, Tegretol and Depakote are generally preferred.