Bipolar Disorder: What Is It And What Are The Symptoms


Bipolar: Have you ever heard that a person is “bipolar”? Chances are, yes. After all, in Brazil, this term is an informal way of referring to someone with a difficult temperament, who changes moods easily.

However, for psychiatry, this expression takes on a much deeper meaning, as it is a reference to a very serious disease, Bipolar Affective Disorder, which can cause great difficulties in the patient’s life.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is a disorder that causes sudden and extreme changes in mood, ranging from periods of intense sadness (depression) to situations of great euphoria (mania).

However, it is noteworthy that all people face different types of emotions throughout the day, weeks or months and this does not necessarily characterize a health problem. In the case of bipolarity, the variation and experience of feelings occurs in an exaggerated way.

There are 4 main classifications used in the diagnosis of psychiatric illness:

Bipolar I Disorder: in this category, the intensity of symptoms is very high, causing a direct impact on the individual’s behavior, impairing their ability to relate and work. The patient has episodes of mania that persist for at least 7 days and phases of depression that can last for several months;
Bipolar II Disorder: There is a more frequent oscillation between depressive and euphoric feelings. In addition, the arousal period is milder compared to type I and is sometimes manifested through irritation;
Cyclothymia: mood swings are milder and can often be considered characteristic of an unstable temperament;
Unspecified or mixed Bipolar Disorder: In this situation, there is evidence that the person has bipolar disorder, but the traits shown do not match any of the other classifications.