Bipolar disorder is a disease that is cropping up more and more in the last few years—especially as more and more people are being diagnosed. So the question is—what is this disease? How does it manifest itself and where precisely does it come from? Could YOU have bipolar disorder?

First and foremost—bipolar disorder is characterized by EXTREME mood swings. Not a teenager not getting what they want or even a toddler—more like an adult going from perfectly fine to all of a sudden, something is very wrong. However, there are two opposite extremes, characterized by two different types of moods, sometimes with regular moods in between. The first is “Mania” (if you remember—bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder), which is when the person is actually happy. Extremely happy. This mood can also include reckless behavior, including sexual promiscuity, gambling, and other issues. The person seems to be extremely happy, extremely talkative, etc.

However, in just a manner of months, weeks, or even hours, this quickly changes to extreme, unprovoked depression. There's no cause for this, which is also a sign of bipolar disorder. However, this type of depression is serious and severe. It can also include suicidal thoughts. However, it then goes back to a semi-normal mood or then back into another state of mania.

Bipolar disorder doesn't just affect adults, however. There are also a few studies that show that it can affect children and teenagers as well. However, it is much more misunderstood than other disorders, mainly because it has such varying moods. Pretty much, what might seem to be a temper tantrum, for no apparent reason, could actually be something else, assuming it occurs on a regular basis.

There are several ways that bipolar disorder is treated—including medication and therapy. Both are usually necessary to help the patient to sort out any issues that they might be having that are triggering suicidal thoughts, if they have them. Bipolar disorder is not something that you can control—it's not something that a person should be punished for, if it is, for example, occurring in a teenager or child. HOWEVER, it does need a formal diagnosis.

There are several risks associated with bipolar disorder, from financial problems thanks to risky gambling and excessive spending to sexual risks from sexual promiscuity. The point? People with this disorder oftentimes find themselves in quite a few sticky situations, stemming from their bipolar disorder.

Remember—this can affect a wide variety of people from African Americans to Caucasians to Asians, women, children, men, teenagers—there's really no “In-between”. Keep in mind, again, that a doctor's diagnosis is the only and best way to diagnose bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is also different for every person and requires a different level of treatment for each and every person. Again, you'll need to talk to your doctor—along with your family—to get things straightened out. Keep in mind that the disorder is also generally caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain—not  much else. A doctor would be the best person to talk to.