Mood and anxiety disorders

About bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder (BD), also known as manic-depressive illness, is characterized by shifts in moods between "highs" and "lows." The highs are classified as manic or hypomanic states, and the lows as depressive states.

These states are generally quite different from the person's usual mood and behaviour. These changes in moods can last from several days up to months in duration. Bipolar disorder tends to run in families.

The mainstay of treatment for bipolar disorder is medication, however counseling or talking-based treatments are often helpful in addition.

Symptoms of mania may include:

  • Elevated mood-silliness or extreme happiness that is inappropriate
  • Irritability or hostility
  • Grandiosity-inflated sense of importance
  • Racing speech and thoughts
  • Talking more than usual
  • Excessive distractibility
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Reckless behavior or poor judgment (daredevil acts, hypersexuality)

Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and/or crying spells
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Lack of pleasure in life
  • Withdrawal from favorite activities
  • Sleeping too much or inability to sleep
  • Drop in grades or inability to concentrate
  • Thoughts of death and suicide
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Significant weight loss, weight gain or change in appetite

Visit the site for more information on Sunnybrook’s Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder.

What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic and frequently severe disorder characterized by intrusive disturbing thoughts that the individual cannot suppress and lead to anxiety. Most individuals also have rituals or repetitive behaviours such as washing, checking, or repeating actions over and over to alleviate their obsessional fears.

What is body dysmorphic disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder focuses on preoccupation with minor or at times imagined defects in one's appearance, such as the shape or size of one's nose, hairline, or blemishes in the skin. Many sufferers are unable to perceive any distortion in their perception of themselves, often describing themselves as extremely ugly, disfigured or worse, wreaking immense havoc in their lives.

What is hoarding?

Hoarding disorder is a newly recognized condition often associated with OCD in which individuals have great difficulty discarding belongings, papers and objects to the point that clutter compromises their ability to live in their homes the way they would like to. In severe cases this can make homes uninhabitable and/or be associated with significant safety concerns such as fire or risk of falling.

What is hair pulling disorder (Trichotillomania) and skin picking disorder?

Hair pulling (Trichotillomania) and skin picking disorder are conditions now recognized as closely related to OCD. In these disorders individuals repeatedly pull hair or pick at their skin despite repeated efforts to stop. Over time these problems can cause very significant distress or impairment in their ability to function.

Sunnybrook is home to the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre, a centre dedicated to treatment and research of anxiety disorders, with a focus on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders. For more information visit the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre.