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Did you Know?

Bipolar Depression Is Different from Other Forms of Depression

There are many forms of depression. Unlike unipolar depressionbipolar depression is part of a larger condition known as bipolar disorder. Knowing what form you have is important because there are different treatment options for different types of depression. Be sure to ask your doctor about how these options work differently to treat unipolar versus bipolar depression.

Understanding the Larger Condition, Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder—the larger condition that includes bipolar depression—is a lifelong, or chronic, illness. It’s a condition that affects the brain in a way that can cause extreme mood swings that vary in length. People with bipolar disorder can go from mania (the “highs”)—feeling euphoric or revved up and irritable—to depression (the “lows”)—feeling down or hopeless. These highs and lows are called “episodes.”

Here are some important facts about bipolar disorder:

  • It may affect as many as 60 million people worldwide
  • More than half of all patients begin seeing symptoms between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can begin at any age
  • There is no cure, but for many people the symptoms can be controlled with treatment
  • Bipolar disorder is sometimes referred to as manic depression
  • Some people may experience mood swings that are less extreme than a full manic episode, known as hypomania
  • People with bipolar disorder often also have other mental health disorders