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Bipolar Disorder

The illness was formerly known as manic depression, but is now called bipolar disorder. The illness affects around 1 % of the adult population in Denmark.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is an illness that appears periodically with periods of mania and depression. Between the manic and the depressive periods there can be neutral/normal periods. It is normal to experience an equal number of manias and depressions.
The stages of the illness can vary in intensity. You can have severe depressions followed by lighter manias. The duration of untreated mania/depression can vary from a few weeks to months or years. In average, a mania lasts about 3-4 months and a depression about 6-8 months.

Symptoms

The bipolar disorder changes your mood and your basic emotional state changes from either a manic or a depressive state.
In a manic period, you become more high-spirited or irritable, hyperactive or restless, and you have trouble sleeping. The high-spiritedness is accompanied by an increase in energy with hyperactivity, urge to talk, excessive self-confidence, haughty ideas, and loss of social inhibitions. You can overestimate yourself and act irresponsibly.

In a depressive period you are sad, you disparage yourself and feel that everything is hopeless. Read more about depressions here.

Treatment

The illness is primarily treated with medicine accompanied by the preventive measures. The medical treatment is an acute treatment of the manic or depressive phase to reduce the symptoms and subsequently preventive treatment intended to avoid new periods of illness. In cases with psychotic symptoms in the form of delusions, hallucinations or risk of suicide, hospitalization can be necessary.

Find more information here:

National Institute of Mental Health (US) 
The Depression Association (in Danish)
 

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