People with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings. They can experience periods of depression, periods of mania, and long periods of normal moods in between. A person with bipolar disorder will usually have more episodes of depression than mania. The time between these different episodes can vary greatly from person to person, but usually episodes last days or weeks, distinguishing bipolar disorder from moodiness which may cause mood switches that occur on a daily basis or several times a day. Bipolar disorder is less common than major depressive disorder, affecting around 0.7% of people in the year preceding the research, with approximately equal numbers of men and women affected.
The depression experienced by a person with bipolar disorder includes some or all of the symptoms of depression. Mania appears to be the opposite of depression. A person experiencing mania will have an elevated mood, be overconfident and full of energy. The person might be very talkative, full of ideas, have less need for sleep and take risks they normally would not consider taking. Although some of these symptoms may sound beneficial (example, increased energy and full of ideas), mania often gets people into difficult situations (example, they could spend too much money and get into debt, they can become angry and aggressive, get into legal trouble or be sexually promiscuous). These consequences may play havoc with work, study and personal relationships. The person can have grandiose ideas and may lose touch with reality. In fact, it is not unusual for people with this disorder to become psychotic during depressive or manic episodes.
If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to a mental health professional. Our professionals are available to help you 24/7.