What is bipolar I disorder?
If you have bipolar I
disorder or care about someone who does, you know firsthand how hard it can be. Like other types of mental illness, bipolar I
disorder is a disorder of the brain.
disorder is a serious illness. And it does not go away. With bipolar I
disorder, there may be times when you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat. You know where you’re going and how to get there. At other times, you may feel like you’ve hit bumps in the road. Throughout your life, you will need to manage the symptoms. Learn more about the symptoms of bipolar I disorder
Diagnosing bipolar I disorder
A person may have symptoms for years before receiving a correct diagnosis of bipolar I
disorder. For many people with bipolar I
disorder, the path to a diagnosis is long and hard.
Causes of bipolar I disorder
Scientists are working hard to find the causes of bipolar I disorder.
But so far they still do not know exactly what causes it. Like other illnesses, bipolar I
disorder may have several causes. Most experts believe that it is caused by a combination of factors. Here is what is believed about the causes of bipolar I disorder:
- Differences in brain chemistry and structure may be involved. Some imaging studies show that the brains of people with bipolar I disorder are different from the brains of people without it
- Bipolar I disorder is known to run in families. Studies show that genes play a role in the disorder
- In someone at genetic risk for bipolar I disorder, a stressful event—such as the loss of a loved one, an illness, money problems, or other major life changes—may set off the first episode of the disorder
- In some people, drug or alcohol use may trigger the disorder. Learn steps you can take for healthy living
Counseling and the help of a support team may make a difference for people living with bipolar I disorder. Taking medicine may also be important. Learn more.