Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme mood swings from high to low, and from low to high. Highs are periods of mania, while lows are periods of depression. The mood swings may even become mixed, so you might feel elated and depressed at the same time.
Bipolar disorder isn’t a rare diagnosis. A 2005 study found that 2.6 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 5 million people, are living with some form of bipolar disorder. Symptoms tend to appear in a person’s late teens or early adult years, but they can occur in children as well. Women are more likely to receive bipolar diagnoses than men, though the reason for this remains unclear.
Bipolar disorder can be hard to diagnose, but there are warning signs or symptoms that you can look for.