The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides information that describes symptoms, causes, and treatments for bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder effects about 5.7 million American adults. Typically the disorder develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, in some the first symptoms occur in childhood and still for others late in life.
It is not unusual for the first symptons to be misdiagnosed and for some it takes years before bipolar disorder is properly recognized. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be properly managed throughout their life.