Getting answers on bipolar disorder in wake of Johnny Manziel diagnosis

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel said in an interview with Good Morning America Monday that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Manziel, in his first public interview in two years, said he is abstaining from alcohol, which he used to "self-medicate" while grappling with depression associated with the disorder.

Cleveland 19 sought answers regarding the disorder from Jane Granzier, the associate director of crisis services at Frontline Service in Cleveland.

They provide crisis intervention and support for mental health patients.

"Bipolar disorder consists of periods of depressive illness, followed by normal functioning interspersed with periods of hypo-mania or a manic episode," Granzier said.

Symptoms of a manic episode include not being able to sleep, rapid speech, risk taking and excessive behavior.

But Granzier says medication can, and does, help millions of people.

"Without even realizing, you know people who have bipolar disorder, who are in many different walks of life, leading very full, functional lives."

It's critical, Granzier says to watch for the warning signs that start with depression. This is especially true for anyone who has a family history of bipolar disorder.

Having a family history of the disorder does not necessarily mean that you will eventually be diagnosed, but it is considered a risk factor that should be monitored especially with the onset of depression.

Unfortunately, Granzier says,  some who are diagnosed turn to caffeine, alcohol or street drugs in an effort to alter their symptoms.

"It is less stigmatized in our culture to have, sometimes, I think, a substance abuse issue than it is to have a mental health issue."

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