Bipolar disease can appear in different forms

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July 15, 2019 - 10:13 AM

Dear Dr. Roach: Is it possible for a person to reach the age of 70 and just now be diagnosed with bipolar disorder? Are there degrees of impairment, like with autism — some worse than others? — C.S.

 

Answer: The hallmark of bipolar disease is mania. “Mania” has a specific meaning in psychiatry: It’s a very elevated mood, associated with high amounts of energy and an inability to think clearly, especially to see the consequences of one’s actions. Some common features of people in a manic episode include an inflated sense of self-worth, distractibility and racing ideas. People can be very talkative and feel little need to sleep. Dangerously, people in a manic phase can spend large amounts of money and have many sexual indiscretions.

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