Depression and Bipolar Disorders


Everyone feels blue or sad sometimes, but usually feel better within a day or two. If sadness follows you around for days or weeks, or includes some of the following features, you could have depression. Depression is an invisible condition that gets in the way of everyday activities like working, sleeping, eating, or just enjoying time with friends.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling irritable
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Lack of energy
  • Problems concentrating, remembering information, or making decisions
  • Problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite or eating too much
  • Social withdrawal
  • Using substances like alcohol and other drugs
  • Wishing you were dead, considering suicide, or making a suicide attempt

Adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Bipolar Disorder

Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is marked by extreme shifts in mood, from overly joyful to extremely sad or hopeless. Whether it’s a high or low, the extreme moods of bipolar disorder are far from your usual state. It’s possible to have bipolar disorder for years without knowing it. You might have had the first symptoms when you were a child, or you could develop them later in life. At least half of all cases start before the age of 25.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
  • Feeling elated for an extended period of time that could be out of proportion for the circumstance
  • Extreme irritability
  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Increase in energy, feeling revved up
  • Needing less sleep than usual without feeling tired
  • Feeling unusually confident in yourself and your abilities (i.e. feeling as if you have special powers or abilities that you didn't used to have)
  • Behaving impulsively, taking unusual risks, overspending money

Adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health.

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