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What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness and mood disorder with distinct high moods (manic stage) and equally obvious lows (depressive stage).

Bipolar disorder often begins with depression during your teen years or early adulthood, although the first manic episode might not happen until some years later. Early signs can vary from person to person, and it can take some time before an assessment is made.


Facts about bipolar disorder

  • Bipolar disorder affects approximately 3% of the population

  • The first major instance of depression usually occurs in your 20s

  • Like other mental illnesses, there is no single cause of bipolar disorder

  • Bipolar disorder can happen to anyone and there is no shame or blame

Researchers believe that a combination of genetics (the characteristics you inherit from your parents) and brain chemistry both play a major role in producing this illness. A person’s personality, along with specific stresses in that person’s environment, may also play a part in bringing on an episode of mania or depression.