Mental illness in the elderly

 Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder affects many individuals of all ages including elderly adults.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder are the mood swings. They can range from the “manic episodes” or “highs” to the “depression” or “lows.”

There are many prescription drugs to treat the symptoms. Many do not work, and there is no cure.

Signs of bipolar disorder

Symptoms of bipolar disorder are powerful impulses and lack of sleep. Other symptoms include agitation and irritability. These moods swings can be extreme. Violence is common.

Mania is the hallmark of bipolar disorder

These include increased energy levels, irritability, aggression or excitability

At the other end of the spectrum is intense depression and, suicidal thoughts.

These symptoms can be harsh, and some commit suicide. They make it impossible to hold a job or live a normal life. Several symptoms can be present during a mood swing.


Depressive episodes may include thought of death or suicide.

Hopelessness is common. An episode may last from days to months on end.

An event can last days, weeks or even months

Several general disorder symptoms may be present. These signs may include increased energy levels. They can also include aggression and violence. A person with bipolar can be very dangerous.

It is also important that you talk with your Doctor before starting any treatment. A Doctor or psychiatrist will be needed if there are severe symptoms.

Side effects of medication

Medication is used to treat bipolar disorder. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant meds may be part of the treatment. Side effects may include nausea, headache, cotton mouth, increased appetite and weight gain.

Home care will give you respite. It is important to understand medications are not the only factors that are effective in controlling the disease.

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