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Living Life with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, or BPD, is a chronic condition that affects approximately 5.7 million people in the U.S., across all genders and ethnicities. However, the actual number may be higher; BPD is sometimes misdiagnosed, usually mistaken for depression in women and schizophrenia in men.

Facts and Fundamentals

There are four mental states that people with BPD can experience: mania, which includes intense feelings of creativity, euphoria, and increased energy; hypomania, a less severe form of mania characterized by feelings of bliss and bouts of hyperactivity; depression, a prolonged feeling of sadness or loss of interest; and mixed episodes, in which the person with BPD experiences two or more of the above states.

Finding the Right Treatment Plan

Stress, anxiety, and sleep troubles can be a part of anyone’s life -- but for people living with bipolar disorder (BPD), they’re often a daily struggle. Some research estimates that upwards of 60 percent of people with BPD also have an anxiety disorder, and one 2004 study found that over 30 percent of BPD patients regularly experience panic attacks. These conditions exacerbate each other and can have a significant impact on sleep patterns and quality, which can further contribute to increased stress, anxiety, and bipolar episodes.

Staying Supported

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of living with BPD is its overwhelming unpredictability. Coupled with extreme shifts in mood, heightened anxiety, impulsivity, and difficulty maintaining personal relationships, this uncertainty can make people with BPD feel very vulnerable, scared, and often, alone.