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Bipolar affective disorder (0)

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness (MDI), is one of the most common, severe, and persistent mental illnesses. Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of deep, prolonged, and profound depression that alternate with periods of an excessively elevated and/or irritable mood known as mania. The symptoms of mania include a decreased need for sleep, pressured speech, increased libido, reckless behavior without regard for consequences, grandiosity, and severe thought disturbances, which may or may not include psychosis. Between these highs and lows, patients usually experience periods of higher functionality and can lead a productive life. Bipolar disorder is a serious lifelong struggle and challenge.1

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, has been recognized since at least the time of Hippocrates, who described such patients as "amic" and "melancholic." In 1899, Emil Kraepelin defined manic-depressive illness and noted that persons with manic-depressive illness lacked deterioration and dementia, which he associated with schizophrenia.

Bipolar disorder constitutes one pole of a spectrum of mood disorders including bipolar I (BPI), bipolar II (BPII), cyclothymia (oscillating high and low moods), and major depression. Bipolar I disorder is also referred to as classic manic-depression, characterized by distinct episodes of major depression contrasting vividly with episodes of mania, which lead to severe impairment of function. In comparison, bipolar II disorder is a milder disorder consisting of depression alternating with periods of hypomania. Hypomania may be thought of as a less severe form of mania that does not include psychotic symptoms or lead to major impairment of social or occupational function.