Adults with bipolar disorder exhibit discrete periods of irritability, grandiosity, disinhibition, and/or pressured speech and behavior, alternating with depressed mood, apathy, anhedonia, fatigue, and/or hopelessness. Severe episodes may also involve psychotic symptoms, indicated by a disruption in contact with external reality, including delusions or hallucinations. Untreated bipolar disorder can challenge relationships, and lead to impaired ability to effectively engage in daily personal and professional tasks. Many adults with bipolar disorder also self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, leading to high rates of comorbidity with substance abuse disorders.
Effective treatment of bipolar disorder involves some combination of medication management with psychoeducation, behavior therapy, and relapse prevention. Evidence-based treatments include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), individual psychotherapy, and group therapy.