Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder that can affect anyone. It is associated with a chemical imbalance in the brain and is thought to be genetic. Though this illness has mainly been studied in adults, more cases have been diagnosed in adolescents and children recently. Though there is little information available about adult bipolar, juvenile bipolar is even more elusive, as it tends to affect children differently and much more severely.
There are four known types of bipolar disorder, though milder or more severe versions are likely to occur. These types are bipolar I, bipolar II, Bipolar III, and cyclothymes. Bipolar I is the least common form, yet it is the type we hear the most about. Bipolar I is characterized by classic episodes of manic or depressed stages. These episodes normally begin with a classic manic phase that can last from weeks to months. Immediately following the manic phase is the depressed stage, which can also last from weeks to months. An individual with Bipolar one normally develops symptoms of the illness upon reaching adulthood and may go for years or even a whole lifetime without knowing he/she has the illness. Manic and depressive stages donâ€™t occur often in classic bipolar, (bipolar I) occurring as little as once or twice a year. Bipolar II is characterized by hypomanic phases and depressive phases. Hypomania is not quite as severe as full-blown maniaâ€”rather, hypomania is characterized by an intense feeling of euphoria and feelings of confidence and motivation. Individuals with bipolar II normally tend to be less aggressive and dangerous than individuals with bipolar II. The depressive stage in bipolar II is more severe. Individuals tend to be more depressed for longer periods of time than manic. Severe depression can occur without ever experiencing a manic stage at all. Bipolar III occurs as a result of taking medication.