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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can make you experience extreme changes in your mood, thoughts, energy and behavior. You may feel lethargic, pessimistic and sad or talkative and uncharacteristically energetic. These manic highs or depressive lows can stay with you for hours, days, weeks or even months.

This mood disorder is caused by abnormalities in your brain chemistry. In its most severe forms, bipolar disorder can make you feel suicidal or inflate your self-esteem so much that you engage in unsafe risk-taking behaviors.

Bipolar disorder is difficult to diagnose because your symptoms overlap with other conditions, including depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. Symptoms of bipolar disorder include major depressive and manic episodes.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Periods of sadness and crying for no apparent reason
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Lack of energy
  • Withdrawing from others, isolating yourself
  • Changes in appetite
  • Periods of lifelessness or agitation
  • Suicidal feelings

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Reduced need for sleep
  • Increased physical and mental activity
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Grandiose delusions
  • Talking fast, impulsiveness
  • Easily distracted
  • Reckless behavior, including spending sprees, drug taking, erratic driving, sexual indiscretions
  • Hearing voices

At Indiana University Health, we reassure you that bipolar disorder is a treatable lifelong illness. Your symptoms will not always be noticeable and problematic. By learning to manage them, you can function at home, on the job and in your relationships with others.

Our professionals provide the few consistent resources available in the community to help you live with bipolar disorder. We deliver individual and group counseling, medicine and a wide array of therapies to assist you in managing your symptoms. If symptoms are severe or you or others may be in danger, inpatient hospital treatment is an option.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder affects more than 2.5 million American adults every year. The median age of onset is 25. Patients often seek help after a manic episode.

The key to making a bipolar disorder diagnosis is gathering a good patient and family history from you and your family members. Diagnosis can be tricky, as bipolar disorder symptoms overlap with other conditions (like depression or anxiety). Our mental health specialists know how to fine-tune and map your symptoms over time to see what is really causing them. This is highly important. Here is why: If you seek treatment for depression but are actually bipolar, a prescribed anti-depressant could push you into a manic episode.

We constantly upgrade our knowledge of the leading research and thinking related to managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Through our affiliation with the Institute of Psychiatric Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine we are assembling the largest sample of bipolar families for genetic studies. Whether you have been symptom free for years or are newly diagnosed, we give you the tools to identify symptoms and triggers so you can minimize and manage a relapse.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Bipolar Disorder Treatment Information

IU Health Behavioral Health physicians and counselors use a multidisciplinary approach that combines therapies, medicine and coping skills to help you live with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Locations & Physicians

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Find a Specialist

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Bipolar Disorder Support Services

Learn more about bipolar disorder treatments at these websites: