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Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic-depressive illness, manifests itself by a chronic disorder of alternating mood phases, between euphoric phases, which are sometimes delirious, and phases of depression. This is a psychiatric disorder characterized by large fluctuations in mood. Pushed to extreme limits, the mood swings can produce delusions and hallucinations or even dangerous behavior sometimes requiring detention of the patient. The World Health Organization classifies bipolar disorder among the 10 most disabling diseases.


The symptoms of bipolar disorder are those of depression and of manic episodes. They occurr intermittently:
  • The symptoms of the depressive phase are:

o sadness, despair;
o lack of desire, loss of vital energy;
o mental slowing and motor;
o loss of interest and motivation;
o pessimism, guilt;
o withdrawal;
o risk of suicide.
  • Those in the manic phase are:

o euphoria, exaltation of mood;
o hyperactivity, mania never stopping;
o overflowing optimism, sense of omnipotence;
o disinhibition, familiarity;
o acceleration of psychic behavior;
o delirium;
o risk of endangerment.


Bipolar disorders are diagnosed through a survey in which the doctor measures the duration of exaltation phases and phases of depression. He will also take into account family history and the environment in which the patient lives. The questioning becomes very informative as bipolar people are rarely aware of their condition.


Once diagnosed, treatment is usually necessary for life. The molecules most commonly used are lithium, neuroleptics and anti-epileptic drugs. Psychotherapy accompanies drug therapy to help manage the symptoms of the disease and educate the patient on his illness. One-time events must be treated equally, depressive episodes by antidepressants, manic episodes with increased doses of lithium salts.


Bipolar disorder cannot be anticipated. Nevertheless, it is possible to limit the acute episodes that occur. The patient should have a good healthy lifestyle, with regular work hours, avoiding stress, toxic abuse such as alcohol, cannabis and hard drugs. He should be well educated about his illness and treatment options. The environment he operates in also holds an important role.