Maybe you’ve heard the term bipolar used to describe someone who has mood swings or often gets moody. This use of the term is an impropriate simplification of symptoms and misunderstanding of a serious medical illness. Bipolar disorder, which used to be categorized as manic depression, is a chronic mental health condition that can cause a person to have dramatic shifts in their energy levels, moods and emotions for prolonged periods of times.
These shifts happen from extreme lows of depression to extreme highs referred to as mania and can last several days or weeks. In a low state, a person can feel hopeless, empty, and sad. Bipolar disorder is different from depression in that a person experiencing a high or manic state can feel overly excited, optimistic, and euphoric.