Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorders and is also known as manic-depressive disorder. It is characterized by severe mood swings which are known as depressive and manic episodes. During manic episodes people show various symptoms including impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, rapid speech, and little or no sleep.
When depressed, a person with bipolar disorder exhibits the usual symptoms of major depression such as being sad and isolated from the society. People with bipolar disorder usually show gradual changes from one mood extreme to the other.
This means a person may show depressive symptoms lasting for several weeks and slowly change to manic episodes which may again last for several weeks. The treatment for bipolar disorder is very different than that for depression. In fact, the antidepressant drugs may worsen the manic episodes.
It is therefore important to understand the symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment of bipolar disorder so as to not confuse it with depression or any other mental illness.