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(formerly manic-depressive illness)

People with bipolar disorder experience dramatic mood swings, with or without a history of major depression.

In bipolar 1 disorder, people experience really ‘high' or manic moods, that may or may not be followed by a ‘low' or depressive mood, or may have high and low moods mixed together (e.g. sadness, tears while feeling manic).

Bipolar 2 is characterized by major depressive episodes and less severe forms of mania.



When in the low part of the cycle, an individual can have any or all of the symptoms of depression .

When in the manic part of the cycle, the person may be overactive, over-talkative, and have a great deal of energy. Mania often affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior in ways that cause serious problems and embarrassment. For example, the individual in a manic phase may feel elated, full of grand schemes, spend lots of money, or engage in risky behaviours. These episodes may last for weeks or months, interfering with relationships, school, and work.


Listen as 9 people with bipolar disorder tell their stories:

Patient Voices

(New York Times)

Bipolar disorder usually begins in the late teens or early twenties.

Bipolar disorder occurs in about 1% of the population.

Most people with bipolar disorder live full and productive lives with the right management and treatment.




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