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 What is bipolar disorder? 

 
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Dr. SANJAY GUPTA: Bipolar disorder disorder is a mental illness that around six million Americans suffer from. I will tell you, it's really hard to know the numbers, because sometimes people don't seek seek help.

Bipolar depression, depression, manic depression, depression, these are terms that are all meaning meaning the same thing. The manic part of it, think of think of that as the highest of highs in your life. You feel great, you may be more reckless reckless though. The depressed depressed part of it is sort sort of the lowest of the lows. I want to try and simplify this for you because I find this really fascinating. fascinating.

Here are the frontal lobes of the brain and deep in here is an area of the brain called the amygdala. Think of Think of the frontal lobes of the brain as your judgment area of the brain, but also your brakes, the area of the brain that tells you to slow down slow down to stop, think a little bit before you do something.

And think of think of the amygdala as the emotional center in the brain. So, someone who is manic, typically typically has no brakes, frontal lobes are not really active, and the amygdala is red hot, meaning meaning it is super active. Things that you think you immediately do, it may lead to lead to wild bursts of creativity with unlimited energy. That's often often times at the manic phases.

Depression, Depression, think about this as exactly the opposite. The frontal lobes are now turned all the way up, that means means everything is just stopped, nothing is getting out getting out The amygdala turned down turned down it means means you have just no emotion. So, you are apathetic, apathetic, you don't want to get out of the house, you simply don't want to do anything. That's what's happening in the brain of someone who has manic depression. depression.

The episodes can last hours, they can last days, they can last weeks. People can go through cycles over a time. So, within a year you could have four cycles from mania to depression depression and so forth.

Typically, Typically, people really start to develop symptoms in their late teens and early 20s. About half of people are diagnosed before the age of 25.

Many people can get good treatment for bipolar depression, depression, but I think it's fair to say that it's not easy. First of all, it can be challenging to get the diagnosis. Second of all, it can be challenging to try all medications, see if they are working, but the key is ultimately ultimately finding a medication that's more of the mood stabilizer. You don't want to give someone an antidepressant who could possibly go into go into a manic phase. That could just worsen the mania. It's more about giving mood stabilizations, to cut down cut down on the intensity of the mania and the depression. depression.


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