What are Depression and Bipolar Disorder?

Depression and Bipolar Disorder are mood disorders, medical illnesses characterized by changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior. Depression is the most common mood disorder, affecting approximately 20 million Americans each year. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or hopelessness
  • Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol or use of chemical substances
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Bipolar Disorder is another common mood disorder which affects more than two million americans. Bipolar disorder usually causes a person’s mood to alternate between symptoms of depression and mania, a heightened energetic state characterized by:

  • Increased physical and mental activity and energy
  • Heightened mood, exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
  • Excessive irritability, aggressive behavior
  • Decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue
  • Grandiose delusions, inflated sense of self-importance
  • Racing speech, racing thoughts, flight of ideas
  • Impulsiveness, poor judgment, distractability
  • Reckless behavior such as spending sprees, rash business decisions, erratic driving and sexual indiscretions
  • In the most severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

Mood disorders are treatable. With the right combination of medication and/or talk therapy, you can stabilize the moods that interfere with your life. By using self-help skills and strategies that work with your treatment plans, you can experience levels of wellness, stability and recovery you may never have thought possible.

Content Provided by Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Website