Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that can alter how you live and function daily. The SSA recognizes bipolar disorder as a disabling condition as long as the patient can document it to show how it affects his or her daily life. Bipolar is a lifelong mental illness that can continue to have symptoms while on treatment.
Regarding a bipolar diagnosis, two main types of bipolar can affect your life differently.
What is bipolar I?
If you have bipolar I, then you have had at least one manic episode in your life. Your manic episodes are periods of elevated moods and high energy. You may also act out of character, in extreme ways that affect your life. People with bipolar I tend to have episodes of depression and cycle through mania and depression.
Bipolar I may make it difficult for you to sleep during manic stages, you may have a higher vulnerability to drug use and other harmful behaviors. Manic symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Following mania, most people experience depression.
What is bipolar II?
People with bipolar II do not tend to experience a full manic episode. Instead, they have a hypomanic episode, which is less severe than a full episode. In bipolar I, people do not always experience a major depressive episode. However, if you have bipolar II, you will experience severe depressive episodes.
When it comes to bipolar, both the highs and lows can affect your ability to work and care for yourself.