Medical Terminology Made Simple: Bipolar Disorder

Barry Lenson

Medical Terminology Made Simple: Bipolar Disorder

As a service to people who are thinking of entering the medical and medical support professions, StraighterLine is continuing the series of short posts on medical terminology. Each post will define one medical term.

Today’s medical term is . . . Bipolar Disorder

Feeling positive? Feeling negative? You could have bipolar disorder. 

If you think that bipolar disorder is a problem that only attacks car batteries, think again. Even though bipolar disorder sounds like an automotive woe, it is actually a problem that affects humans. And it is a serious psychological/psychiatric problem indeed.

People who suffer from it experience extreme mood swings from depression to giddy happiness. (Those are the two poles of the disorder, get it?) Because sufferers are on a kind of emotional roller-coaster, they suffer extreme stress and can become suicidal. And for reasons that are easy to understand, they have a hard time holding down jobs, establishing normal relationships, and engaging in other activities that most of us find routine.

Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect women than men. It can begin in childhood, but it most commonly affects older teenagers or young adults. The causes are not fully understood.  The illness apparently cannot be prevented, but it can be diagnosed early and treated with a variety of prescription medications.


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