Patient Resources

Patient Resources

About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a serious, but treatable, mental illness. People living with bipolar disorder experience mania or hypomania, which can feel like euphoric, high-energy periods, as  well as periods of depression that may leave them feeling sad, hopeless, and listless. These shifts in mood vary in frequency and intensity.

Bipolar disorder is a chronic, long-term condition, but patients can live rich, full lives with the right treatment plan. Researchers all over the world are working on new medications, therapies, and technologies to give doctors more tools to help patients cope with the symptoms of bipolar disorder.



Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar I Disorder: defined by manic episodes, often lasting for more than one week.  Depressive episodes may occur as well, although not everyone experiences these.  

Bipolar II Disorder: defined by a pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes experienced with Bipolar I Disorder.  

Cyclothymia: defined by several hypomanic episodes and periods of depressive symptoms for at least 2 years.  These episodes are not as severe as those in Bipolar I or II Disorder, but can have a serious impact on your life.  

Patient and Family Guide for the Management of Bipolar Disorder available now!


The Patient and Family Guide to the CANMAT and ISBD Guidelines on Management of Bipolar Disorder is now available in two languages.
Click here for the English version.  Click here for the French version.  



  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in work, school, hobbies, etc.
  • Social isolation
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Low energy and lethargy
  • Sad mood
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts


  • Elevated mood
  • Extreme irritability
  • Rapid, unpredictable emotional changes
  • Racing thoughts
  • Being very distractible
  • Uncharacteristic risky behavior – overspending, reckless sex
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Increased activity levels
  • Decreased need for sleep

Tip Sheets

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Suicide Prevention

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Pregnancy Series

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Comorbid Conditions

Website Disclaimer

While all the contributors to this site are experts in the field of bipolar disorder, their appearance on this site does not constitute any endorsement or recommendation by ISBD.