About Bipolar Depression
Understanding bipolar depression
Bipolar depression is part of a larger mental health condition called bipolar disorder, which causes extreme changes in mood and behavior. These changes in mood, known as mood episodes, can cause you to experience lows (bipolar depression) and highs (mania).
The lows and highs of bipolar disorder
The lows of bipolar disorder, also known as depressive episodes, can make people feel sad or hopeless. They may lose interest or pleasure in most activities, even those they once enjoyed. These depressive episodes may be present throughout their lives, and some episodes may even last several months.
The highs of bipolar disorder, also known as manic or hypomanic episodes, can cause people to feel euphoric, impulsive, unusually irritable, or have an abnormal amount of increased energy.
People with bipolar disorder may have different symptoms, so it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to discuss how it affects you.
~90% of people report severe impairment due to depressive episodes.
Depressive episodes can be the more debilitating state for some people and may have a greater impact than manic episodes on everyday functioning.
It's 3X more likely for people with bipolar disorder to experience bipolar depression than mania. While some people with bipolar disorder fluctuate between lows and highs, bipolar depression may be experienced more often than manic or hypomanic episodes.
The common symptoms of bipolar depression
Bipolar depression can be difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat. Studies show that people with bipolar disorder are often misdiagnosed as having another kind of depression because the symptoms are so similar.
Knowing the common symptoms of bipolar depression and talking about them with your healthcare provider can help you get the diagnosis you need.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Weight loss or gain (due to changes in how much you eat)
- Depressed mood most of the day
- Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
- Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
- Feeling irritated easily
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, and making decisions
- Thoughts of harming yourself
- Men and women experience bipolar disorder at similar rates
- ~11 million US adults experience bipolar disorder in their lifetime
- Similar population size for people with bipolar I or bipolar II depression
- 18-29 year olds have the highest rates of bipolar disorder
Bipolar I vs Bipolar II Depression: What's the difference?
Bipolar I Depression
While many people may spend most of their time in depression, they also experience at least one manic episode
Some people may also experience hypomania, or episodes of a noticeably elevated mood that don't always impact daily functioning
Bipolar II Depression
People tend to experience longer depressive episodes that can be more severe than with bipolar I
Having at least one depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, without a manic episode
Depressive episodes can affect many different parts of your life including sleep, energy, activity, behavior, and the ability to think clearly
Hear from a real person with bipolar depression
Paul talks openly about his experience with bipolar depression and his search for a medicine that works for him.