In the United States two million adults (1% of U.S. population) have a bipolar illness. With this condition the affected person experiences symptoms of depression and symptoms of mania, usually cyclically. Each person’s experience of the illness falls on a continuum that ranges from mild to severe.

Symptoms of Depression

  • See section on Depression

Symptoms of Mania

  • “High,” expansive, or irritable mood lasting at least one week; in milder cases, excessively good mood that seems odd
  • Over-the-top self-esteem and thinking of ones self as awe inspiring; in milder cases, inflated self-esteem that is not a usual self-perception for the person
  • Decreased need for sleep without subsequent fatigue
  • More talkative than usual and can’t seem to stop talking
  • Racing thoughts and/or having a great many ideas all at once
  • Easily distracted; attention is drawn to unimportant or irrelevant things
  • Feeling the need to do twenty million projects at one time regardless how that affects relationships or personal health
  • Over-involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (ex. unrestrained buying sprees, excessive gambling, compulsive sex, foolish and impulsive business investments, etc.)


Risk Factors for Bipolar Illness


  • Family history of bipolar diagnosis or undiagnosed presence of above symptoms in family member at sometime in his or her life
  • Past episodes of depression
  • Being diagnosed with an “irritable depression”

• Being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder