Bipolar disorder used to be called 'manic depression'. As the older name suggests, it is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. These usually last several weeks or months and are far beyond what most of us experience.
- Low or 'depressive' - feelings of intense depression and despair
- High or 'manic' - feelings of extreme happiness and elation
- Mixed - for example, depressed mood with the restlessness and overactivity of a manic episode
About 1 in every 100 adults has bipolar disorder at some point in their life. It usually starts between the ages of 15 to 19, and it rarely starts after the age of 40. Men and women are affected equally.
When your mood changes, you might see changes in your energy levels or how you act. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe and can affect areas of your life such as work, school and relationships.
More information on NHS Choices
More information for sufferers and carers