Introduction bipolar disorder,
formerly manic-depressive disorder
severe mental disorder involving manic episodes that are usually accompanied by episodes of depression
. The term "manic-depression" was introduced by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin
in 1896. The manic phase of the disorder is characterized by an abnormally elevated or irritable mood, grandiosity, sleeplessness, extravagance, and a tendency toward irrational judgment. During the depressed phase, the person tends to appear lethargic and withdrawn, shows a lack of concentration, and expresses feelings of worthlessness, self-blame, and guilt. This dual character of the disorder has given it the name bipolar disorder,
in contrast to the unipolar
depression symptomatic of the majority of mood disorders. The symptoms range in intensity and pattern and may not be recognized at first. Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder may have long periods in their lives without episodes of mania or depression, but manic-depressives have the highest suicide rate of any group with a psychological disorder.
Sections in this article:
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.