Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness in which a person?s mood alternates between extreme mania and depression. Bipolar disorder is also called manic-depressive illness. In a related disorder called cyclothymic disorder (sometimes called Bipolar III), a person?s mood alternates between mild depression and mild mania. Some people with cyclothymic disorder later develop full-blown bipolar disorder. Rates of bipolar disorder are similar throughout the world. At least fifteen percent of people with bipolar disorder commit suicide. Bipolar disorder is much less common than depression. Many people with bipolar disorder function normally between episodes. Medications known as ?mood stabilizers? are usually prescribed by psychiatrists to help control bipolar disorder. In general, people with bipolar disorder continue treatment with mood stabilizers for extended periods of time. One of the most important thing family and friends can do for a person with bipolar disorder is learn about the illness. Never ignore remarks about suicide. It is important to note that most people with bipolar disorder?even those with the most severe forms can achieve substantial stabilization of their mood swings and related symptoms with proper treatment.
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