Bipolar Disorder is a debilitating mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood. Symptoms can include an extremely elevated mood called mania. They can also include episodes of depression.
Bipolar disorder can have two extremes: up and down. To be diagnosed with bipolar, you must experience a period of mania or hypomania. People generally feel “up” in this phase of the disorder. When you’re experiencing an “up” change in mood, you may feel highly energized and be easily excitable.
Some people with bipolar disorder will also experience a major depressive episode, or a “down” mood. When you’re experiencing a “down” change in mood, you may feel lethargic, unmotivated, and sad. However, not all people with bipolar disorder who have this symptom feel “down” enough to be labelled depressed. For instance, for some people, once their mania is treated, a normal mood may feel like depression because they enjoyed the “high” caused by the manic episode.
While bipolar disorder can cause you to feel depressed, it’s not the same as the condition called depression. Bipolar disorder can cause highs and lows, but depression causes moods and emotions that are always “down.” Discover the differences between bipolar disorder and depression.