Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder – formerly known as manic-depression – is a chronic, recurring condition that includes cycles of depression and elation or mania.

People with bipolar disorder may not realize how their emotional instability affects their lives and the people around them. If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of bipolar disorder, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. The condition doesn’t go away on it own; it requires mental health care.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Depressive disorders come in different forms, as do other illnesses such as heart disease. Within each type of disorder, there are variations in the number of symptoms, their severity, and persistence.

The characteristics of bipolar disorder vary from person to person. For some people, the depression causes more problems, while in others, the manic phase causes the most problems.

In general, signs of the manic phase include:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Agitation or irritation
  • Careless drug usage
  • Delusions or a break from reality
  • Easily distracted
  • Euphoria
  • Frequent absences from work or school
  • Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
  • Increased physical activity
  • Increased sex drive
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Less need for sleep
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Racing thoughts
  • Rapid speech
  • Risky behavior
  • Spending sprees or making unwise financial choices

The depressive phase can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Frequent absences from work or school
  • Guilt
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities
  • Low or increased appetite
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping

Although bipolar disorder usually affects adults, it can occur in children. In children, the disorder can be characterized by mood swings, bouts of depression, and hyperactivity.

Our Specialists

UT Southwestern Medical Center is home to one of the premier centers in the world for the study, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders including bipolar disorder. Our mental health physicians are board certified and respected by their peers as authorities on all types of mental health problems, including bipolar disorder.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.