These pages are designed to give you an idea of what may be happening to you, some information, and what you can do about it. We encourage you to speak to the Counseling & Wellness Center or your doctor.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic-depression, because it provokes extreme shifts in mood, from depressive lows to manic highs. It is related to clinical depression but is not entirely the same, though you may find the article on depression helpful.
A person who is suffering from bipolar disorder will experience depression, mania and/or mixed states (for example, tearfulness during a manic episode or racing thoughts during a depressive episode).
Bipolar disorder tends to manifest in college-age people (late teens and early twenties), a time when you are already experiencing many life changes and may dismiss the symptoms as something else. And it is a recognized disability.
The two types of bipolar disorder
- A diagnosis of Bipolar I requires one or more manic or mixed episode. A depressive episode is not required although people with Bipolar I disorder may also experience depressive phases.
- Bipolar II is more common but by no means less severe . It is characterized by severe depression and at least one occasion of mania. It can be very difficult to diagnose Bipolar II, as the person may think the highs are "feeling normal" and may not realize that their behavior changes dramatically once they become manic.