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It's estimated the 3 percent of the U.S. population is living with bipolar disorder. Scientists are still trying to understand the causes of the condition, but most research points to a mix of genetic and environmental factors. The most common symptoms include manic episodes, during which people can go from extreme highs in their mood (exuberant energy, sex drive, confidence) to equally extreme lows (depression, suicidal thoughts, e.g.). These periods of extreme highs and lows can last anywhere from days to weeks at a time. Psychologists are learning more and more about the condition, including possible markers on the neurological level. There are also advancements being made in treatment plans, including lithium and anti-seizure medication.
Bipolar disorder: New MRI imaging provides new picture, new insight (Science Daily
"Using a different type of MRI imaging, researchers have discovered previously unrecognized differences in the brains of patients with bipolar disorder. In particular, the study revealed differences in the white matter of patients' brains and in the cerebellum, an area of the brain not previously linked with the disorder."
Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment (Live Science)
" Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by periods of manic and depressive episodes, interspersed with relatively normal states of mind. The unusual shifts in mood interfere with one's ability to carry out a normal daily life."