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Bipolar disorder affects around 5.7 million Americans (an incidence of about 2.7% of the US population) and there is about a 1% incidence in the worldwide population. The symptoms associated with Bipolar disorder are believed to be linked to dysregulated brain activity. There currently is no evidence to suggest there is one singular cause, but rather a combination of genetics, environmental stress, and sometimes the use of drugs and/or alcohol in vulnerable populations. In other words, the onset of this disease can be highly unpredictable.
Bipolar disorder is an umbrella term for three psychological disorders: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymic disorder. All similarly characterized by significant changes in mood, from abnormally happy to a more depressive state.
Bipolar disorder is a fairly common diagnosis but less common than other illnesses with a similar incidence rate. Hope Is Hear is aiming to help that almost 3% as well as educate the other 97% so we can better take care of those affected as a community.
Bipolar I is the most common diagnosis, and generally the most severe, with those affected experiencing extreme exhilaration (mania) and manifested through increased activity, risky behavior, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, and more. These episodes of mania can require the person affected to be hospitalized for safety. Those affected also experience major depressive episodes or neutral moods. The hallmark of somebody experiencing Bipolar I is a manic episode.
People who suffer from Bipolar II characteristically experience one or more major depressive episodes, coupled with at least one hypomanic episode (a less severe version of mania that does not usually present as a need for hospitalization). Cyclothymic disorder presents as faster changes between hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms while not meeting the severity requirements for hypomania or a depressive episode. Although symptoms are less severe, these symptoms are experienced at least half the time for at minimum a two-year period.
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