Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a serious medical illness that is characterized by extreme shifts in mood energy and functioning. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience alternating episodes of mania (severe highs), depression (severe lows) and mixed states that contain elements of both high and low experiences. These episodes of unusually intense moods may last for days, weeks or even months and are often separated by periods of fairly ordinary moods.
Common bipolar symptoms:
- Aggressive behavior
- Grandiose notions
- Exaggerated feelings of productivity and self confidence
- “Highs” described as one’s best feeling ever
- Loss of capacity for pleasure
- Profound sadness
- Sleep changes
- Decreased appetite and concentration
- Thoughts of suicide
For additional information on bipolar disorder, see the Resources section.