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Bipolar Disorder Type 1: Symptoms, Treatment, Risk, Prevention

Bipolar Disorder Type 1

Bipolar disorder type 1 – also called manic depression or manic depressive disorder – is a so-called “brain illness” that is characterized by manic or mixed episodes that people experience at least once in their life. The manic phase of bipolar disorder is also characterized by an episode of feeling "high", or an overly happy or outgoing mood associated with high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments.

The vast majority of people who suffer from bipolar disorder type 1 also experience depressive phases that mostly function according to a given pattern alternating between mania and depression periods. However, a great number of the people affected by bipolar disorder type 1 can still enjoy a ‘normal’ life between the respective episodes of mania and depression.

Who is at risk for bipolar disorder type 1

No special group of people is particularly at risk for being affected by bipolar disorder type 1. Basically, the disorder can affect anyone of us at any time. Worldwide, 2.2% of the population is estimated to suffer from a bipolar disorder form.

People usually experience their first symptoms of bipolar disorder type 1 relatively early; generally as teenagers or when they are just out of their teens. As a matter of facts, bipolar disorder type I mostly occurs before a person reaches his or her fifties. Heredity also can play a role: people with a family history of bipolar disorder are consequently at higher risks to suffer from the disorder one day.

Symptoms for bipolar disorder type 1

A person who suffers from bipolar disorder type 1 experiences long periods of feeling "high", or an overly happy or outgoing mood, or displays an extremely irritable mood during the manic phase. The typical behavioral changes in bipolar disorder that he or she can manifest during the manic episodes also include:
  • Talking very loud and fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted an sleeping little
  • Increasing goal-directed activities, such as taking on new projects
  • Being restless
  • Having an unrealistic belief in one's abilities
  • Behaving impulsively, taking part in a lot of pleasurable, high-risk behaviors (for example, spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments)
When an episode of mania is not treated professionally, it can last for up to a few months. Usually, people suffering from bipolar disorder type 1 experience the symptoms for a period of time that can vary between a few weeks and a few months. When the manic episode is over, a depressive phase may start within short or only a few weeks or months later.

Quite a number of people suffering from bipolar disorder type I are lucky enough to experience longer periods exempt of any manic or depressive symptoms between the episodes of bipolar disorder type I.

The depressive episodes experienced by a person suffering from bipolar disorder type 1 are comparable to a normal clinical depression and can last for several weeks or even months.

Available treatments for bipolar disorder type 1


The basic treatments for the manic episodes in the illness bipolar disorder type 1 always include medications. Very often, different medications have to be tried before the effective one is found. A combination of medications can also be recommended by your doctor to enhance the positive results.
Usually recommended medications for the treatment of bipolar disorder type 1 include:
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Symbyax
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy is an option for people whose symptoms could not be improved by other treatments, or if you are pregnant and cannot take appropriate medications.

Can bipolar disorder type I be prevented?

There is still no treatment available that is capable of preventing the occurrence of bipolar disorder type 1. The best that can be done in the meantime is to seek for professional help at the very first sign of any mental health disorder, as some episodes of mania and of depression can be prevented effectively in people who have started developing bipolar disorder type 1.

Attending regularly dedicated therapy sessions with an experienced psychologist is usually beneficial and can help people suffering from bipolar disorder type I to better identify the possible causes for the destabilization of their mood. Such therapy sessions with a professional usually result in reducing significantly the number of necessary hospitalizations and in a much more enjoyable life form for the patient.

Another important point consists in continuing taking regularly the prescribed medicines – as agreed with your doctor. This may be the best measure you can take personally to prevent the emergence of future manic or depressive episodes of bipolar disorder type 1.

Differences between bipolar disorder type 1 and the other bipolar disorder types

The people suffering from bipolar disorder type 1 experience manic or mixed episodes that are so intense and severe that an immediate hospitalization is required. The mood swings that are experienced with bipolar disorder 1 are severe in both phases and generate huge problems in your work and your relationships. During the manic phase, people with bipolar disorder type 1 can behave impulsively and take part in a lot of pleasurable, high-risk behaviors, such as spending orgies, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments

The people suffering from bipolar disorder type 2 experience a combination of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. Bipolar disorder type 2 does not cause full-blown manic or mixed episodes, but hypomania which is a milder form of mania. In bipolar disorder 2, the periods of depression are usually experienced for a longer time than those of mania. Women tend to be more affected by bipolar disorder type 2. The people suffering from this disorder may be more irritable and show an elevated mood but they can – in most cases – assume their usual daily work or routine.


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