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Treatments can tame, not cure, bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, which provokes dramatic mood swings and can wreck one's life, is not curable but is treatable, said Thomas Schwartz, MD, vice chair of the Upstate Psychiatry Department. The hallmark of the disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a sustained period of elevated mood, energy and activity that can provoke impulsive and destructive behavior, followed by or mixed with a period of depression. Popular media often focus on the extreme aspects of bipolarity, Schwartz said, adding that maintaining a regular sleep schedule as well as medications and psychiatric treatment can help control the disorder.