Bipolar disorder: What is the disorder Johnny Manziel says he has?

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What You Need To Know About Johnny Manziel

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Johnny Manziel said he has bipolar disorder in an ABC News interview published Monday.

Manziel, a former Cleveland Browns quarterback, was known more for his troubles off the field than his talents at quarterback in his short professional career. Manziel, who played for Texas A&M University, was drafted by the Browns but was cut from the team’s lineup after only two seasons.

The Heisman Trophy winner said his troubles were the result of his use of alcohol in dealing with his depression.

"That’s what I thought would make me happy and get out of that depression," Manziel, 25, said to ABC News. "When I would wake up the next day after a night like that, going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that is all gone, that liquid courage or that liquid ... sense of euphoria that is over you, is all gone."

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Manziel said he used alcohol to help cope when the success that came to him so early in life was not enough.
"For a while I got so ingrained, caring only about what Johnny wanted, only caring what mattered to me, what made me happy," Manziel said. "When I look back at it now, even when I thought I was doing what I wanted, I was miserable."
He was let go by the Browns after a domestic violence incident involving his ex-girlfriend.

Manziel said he is taking medication to treat bipolar depression, putting him in the 2 percent of the world’s population living with the manic highs and dramatic lows the mood disorder brings.

Here’s a look at bipolar disorder, the symptoms and where you can get help.

What is it?

Bipolar disorder is a psychological disorder characterized by "manic" episodes either preceding or following a time of a major depression. Manic episodes are defined as experiencing a period of at least one week where the person has "an elevated, expansive or unusually irritable mood, as well as notably persistent goal-directed activity," according to

What are the types of bipolar disorder?

WebMD describes the types of bipolar disorders this way:

Bipolar I

A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the "up" moods never reach full-on mania.

Rapid cycling

In rapid cycling, a person with bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. About 10 percent to 20 percent of people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling.

Mixed bipolar

In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. But with mixed bipolar disorder, a person experiences both mania and depression simultaneously or in rapid sequence.


Cyclothymia, or cyclothymic disorder, is a relatively mild mood disorder. People with cyclothymic disorder have milder symptoms than in full-blown bipolar disorder.

What are the symptoms?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, here are the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

The depression phase

Symptoms of a depressive episode may include:
• No interest in activities you once enjoyed.
• Loss of energy.
• Difficulty sleeping -- either sleeping too much or not at all.
• Changes in appetite -- eating too much or too little.
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
• Thoughts of death or suicide.

The manic phase

Symptoms of a manic episode may include:
• Feelings of euphoria, abnormal excitement or elevated mood.
• Talking very rapidly or excessively.
• Needing less sleep than normal, yet still having plenty of energy.
• Feeling agitated, irritable, hyper or easily distracted.
• Engaging in risky behavior, such as lavish spending, impulsive sexual encounters or ill-advised business decisions.

What resources are available?

Click here for a link to resources for patients via the International Society for Bipolar Disorders.

When to get emergency help

Suicidal thoughts and behavior are common among people with bipolar disorder. If you think you may hurt yourself and need help, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

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