Bipolar Disorder

A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

The exact cause of bipolar disorder isn’t known, but a combination of genetics, environment, and altered brain structure and chemistry may play a role.

Manic episodes may include symptoms such as high energy, reduced need for sleep, and loss of touch with reality.

Depressive episodes may include symptoms such as low energy, low motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities. Mood episodes last days to months at a time and may also be associated with suicidal thoughts.

Treatment is usually lifelong and often involves a combination of medications and psychotherapy.


Cluster Number:
Wiki Number: W023
Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder
US Patients: 3% in lifetime
World Patients: W2%
Sex Ratio:
Age Onset: Age 25
Brain Area: Below (ventral)pfc, less active on left for depression; on the right for mania.
Symptoms: 71% genetic +childhood abuse and stress; substance abuse; impulsive
Progression: 6% suicide, 35% self-harm;4 days down-months/7 days mania
Causes: dopamine higher in manic; lower in depressive; manic, glutamate higher in left pfc in manic
Medications: lithium, anti-psychotics-in-manic phase; mood-stabilizers; only lithium for children
Therapies: Teaching coping strategies for relapses and taking medication consistently

Please see the support materials for Bipolar I and for Bipolar II which follow.


The world-wide medical research
reports chosen for each diagnosis 

Clicking each title opens the
PubMed article’s summary-abstract.