BiPolar Disorder Ups and Downs

Bipolar Disorders infographic summarizes the signs and symptoms as well as the common treatment options for this mental illness.

BiPolar Disorder Ups and Downs
Share this infographic on your site!

The Ups and Downs of Bipolar Disorder

Sometimes a popular movie sets off a national dialog. Such is the case with the stellar performances in Silver Linings Playbook, which deals with aspects of bipolar disease.

Featured Programs

Today I learned that bipolar disorders are often treatable, through a combination of therapies and drugs.

What is it?

Most people know bipolar disease as the condition of manic depression.

Bipolar History

A short history: Bipolar disorders have been around for thousands of years.

1st Century: Aretaeus of Cappadocia, Turkey, detailed symptoms. His notations on the link between mania and depression went largely unnoticed for many centuries.

Ancient Greeks and Romans: coined the terms mania and melancholia. They even used lithium salts in baths to calm manic patients.

Aristotle: linked melancholy as an inspiration for the great artists of his time.

The Death Cure: in ancient times, people were executed for having bipolar disorders. They were thought to be possessed by demons.

17th Century: Theophilus Bonet publishes Sepuchretum, linking mania and melancholy in a condition called “manico-melancolicus.”

1851: French psychiatrist Jean-Pierre Falret published an article describing what he called “la folie circulaire,” which translates to circular insanity. It is considered the first documented diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

1921: Kraepelin’s Manic Depressive Insanity and Paranoia detailed the difference between manic-depressive and praecox, which is now known as schizophrenia.

1980: The term “bipolar”—which means “two poles” signifying the polar opposites of mania and depression—first appeared in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in its third revision.

2.4: percentage of people around the world are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

4.4: percent of people in the United States is believed to have bipolar disorder, one of the highest rates in the world.

0.1: India, is the country with the lowest rate of diagnosed bipolar disorder.

25: Average age of onset

Bipolar disorder can run in families.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes.

The 4 Types of Mood Episodes

• Mania
• Hypomania
• Depression
• Mixed episodes

Bipolar Myths and Facts

Myth: People with bipolar disorder can’t get better or lead a normal life.

Fact: Many people with bipolar disorder have successful careers, happy family lives, and satisfying relationships.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder swing back and forth between mania and depression.

Fact: Some people alternate between extreme episodes of mania and depression, but most are depressed more often than they are manic. People with bipolar disorder can also go for long stretches without symptoms.

Myth: Bipolar disorder only affects mood.

Fact: Bipolar disorder also affects your energy level, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem. Additionally, it is linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, migraines, and high blood pressure.

Myth: Aside from taking medication, there is nothing you can do to control this disorder.

Fact: While medication is the foundation of treatment, therapy and self-help strategies also play important roles. You can help control your symptoms by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating right, monitoring your moods, keeping stress to a minimum, and surrounding yourself with supportive people.

Some Celebrities With Bipolar Disorder

Britney Spears
Kurt Cobain
Ernest Hemmingway
Sinead O’Connor
Carrie Fisher
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Emily Dickinson
Virginia Woolf
Linda Hamilton
Ludwig van Beethoven
Vincent van Gogh
Richard Dreyfuss
Robert Downey
Russell Brand
Mel Gibson
Frank Sinatra
Ted Turner

Treatments for Those with Bipolar Disorders

• Medications
• Group or family psychological counseling (psychotherapy)
• Education
• Support groups

Drugs Used to Help Control Bipolar Disorders


• a mood stabilizer

Anticonvulsant medications

• valproate, carbamazepine, Lamotrignine, gabapentin, topiramate

Antipsychotic Medication

• Clozapine, olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, and ziprasidone are used in patients who don’t respond well to lithium. Sometimes these medications are prescribed to help with severe mania.

Insomnia Medication

• Insomnia is a problem with some patients. Clonazepam or lorazepam is prescribed for short-term use as these medications can be habit-forming.


• Occasionally, antidepressants are used in the treatment, but when used alone they can cause manic episodes. Mood stabilizers should be used along with an antidepressant to help prevent manic episodes.

Thyroid medication

• Often people who have bipolar disorder have abnormal thyroid functioning. Blood tests can determine whether thyroid medications are needed in addition to medications for mood stabilization.

Bipolar Hotline & Helpline Information:

24-hour Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Helpline
1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Bipolar Helplines & Resources:

American Association of Suicidology

Families for Depression Awareness

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Prevent Suicide Now
Suicide prevention resources and worldwide hotline links

Suicide Hotline Listing by State

Prevention Action Network USA

UCLA School Mental Health Project:
Hotlines for suicide prevention and other crisis resources
ULifeLine college network