Bipolar disorder is characterized by serious and significant mood swings. A person with bipolar disorder experiences alternating manic or hypomanic episodes (episode is characterized by extreme happiness, extreme irritability, hyperactivity, little need for sleep and/or racing thoughts, which may lead to rapid speech) and depression (characterized by extreme sadness, a lack of energy or interest in things, an inability to enjoy normally pleasurable activities and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness). Both the manic and depressive periods can be brief, from just a few hours to a few days. Or the cycles can be much longer, lasting up to several weeks or even months.
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is still being researched. There seems to be some consensus that the disorder has a genetic component. Other research suggests that multiple factors such as a person’s genetic, environmental, and physical traits may interact to produce the disorder. Factors that may increase your risk of having bipolar disorder are: having a first-degree relative with the disorder, multiple periods of high stress, alcohol and other substance abuse, continual lack of sleep, and traumatic life events.
Linked below are quizzes on bipolar disorder. These quizzes may help distinguish if you suffer from bipolar disorder. These quizzes are not an official diagnosis, but merely a starting point to help you discuss bipolar disorder with your health professional.