Bipolar disorder causes unusual changes in mood and behavior. While everyone has natural highs and lows, with bipolar disorder the highs and lows are extreme, impacting folks’ ability to function in their day-to-day lives through shifts in mood, energy levels, sleeping and eating, and the ability to think clearly. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a person must have experienced mania or hypomania (extreme highs) in addition to depression. In between episodes, people with bipolar disorder can be completely symptom-free. Like all mental illnesses, bipolar disorder shows up differently for each person. For example, some people could be in either a manic and/or depressive state almost all the time, whereas for others it could be years between episodes. Bipolar disorder is treatable.
Each person is unique, and should explore their options and select for themselves the most effective coping mechanisms for dealing with bipolar disorder. That being said, many people have found successful treatment for bipolar through things like psychotherapy, medication, exercise, spiritual and indigenous approaches to healing, and/or self-care techniques such as sticking to concrete daily routines or keeping a journal to track symptoms.