what is it, what are the characteristics and how is it treated

Bipolar Mood Disorder is a chronic mental illness that affects a considerable portion of the population. The estimate in Brazil is that about 15 million people suffer from the condition, which corresponds to 8% of the country’s population.

The pathology is characterized by mood swings, which can range from depression, with deep sadness, to mania, in which the patient shows extreme euphoria, or hypomania, which is a milder version of mania, in varying degrees of intensity.

It is considered one of the most disabling diseases in the world, with a high mortality rate, with suicide being the most frequent cause of death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 50% of patients with the disorder attempt suicide at least once in their lives and 15% manage to kill themselves worldwide.

André Dória, psychologist and coordinator of the Bipolar Disorder Program at Holiste Psychiatry, explains that, in many cases, the patient’s symptoms are associated with personality, which impairs the treatment insofar as the understanding of bipolarity is trivialized.

“We seek to escape standardization, seeking treatment and individualized views, which makes us consider that there are ‘bipolarities’, that is, different presentations within the disease itself. There are general characteristics of the disorder, but the way in which an episode is triggered is absolutely particular”, said Dória.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder vary according to the patient’s mood phase, ranging from manic to depressive episodes or both.

During manic episodes, it is more common to notice restlessness, euphoria, irritability, lack of concentration, unrealistic belief in your abilities, unusual behavior, tendency to abuse drugs, speaking too quickly, insomnia, denial that something is wrong, increased desire sexual and aggressive behavior.

In the depressive phase, the following are more common: bad mood, sadness, anxiety, pessimism, feelings of guilt, loss of interest in things you liked, feeling of constant fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, excessive sleep or lack of sleep, changes in appetite and weight, chronic pain, thoughts of suicide and death.

Causes of the disorder

There is no single factor that causes bipolar disorder, it is known that the origin is multifactorial. Studies point to some causes that may be related to the disease, such as genetic and biological characteristics and personal experiences.

In general, the disorder begins to manifest in early adulthood, in the 20s. However, the onset of symptoms in childhood and adolescence is increasingly observed.

In the infant-juvenile phase, patients may receive other diagnoses, which impairs the initiation of adequate treatment, due to peculiarities in the clinical presentation.



Proper treatment for the disorder reduces the disability and mortality of carriers. It can be performed on an outpatient basis, with follow-up by a psychiatrist and regular use of medication.

Cases of acute crises, not infrequently, demand psychiatric hospitalization.

Equally relevant is group or family therapy, as the treatment together with the patient helps to visualize solutions to reduce the conflicts that can arise as a result of bipolarity.

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