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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What causes bipolar disorder?
It is not known exactly what causes bipolar disorder. As with other conditions that affect mood, such as depression, it is thought that people with bipolar disorder have an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain that affect mood. There is a genetic link …
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
The main symptoms of bipolar disorder are extreme mood swings that range from feeling extremely high or overexcited and energetic, to feeling very depressed and helpless. The mood of feeling very high is sometimes referred to as mania. During a …
What is the difference between depression and bipolar disorder?
Depression and bipolar disorder are both conditions that affect mood. The main difference between them is that people with depression feel sad or miserable most of the time, while people with bipolar disorder have extreme mood …
What is mania?
Mania is a mood that can occur in bipolar disorder. It is the feeling of having an abnormally elevated mood. During a manic episode, a person may feel overexcited and have excess energy, and engage in reckless behavior. Sometimes mania may be so severe that a person can no …
What is manic depression?
Bipolar disorder was once called manic depression. The term manic describes the elevated mood that occurs in bipolar disorder, where a person feels extremely high, and overexcited. Depression refers to the low mood that people experience as part of a bipolar …
How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?
Diagnosing bipolar disorder can be difficult, as there is no single medical test that can confirm the condition. A diagnosis is usually made by a psychiatrist. To work out if a person has bipolar disorder, the psychiatrist will usually collect a detailed …
How is bipolar disorder treated?
Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition that usually requires lifelong treatment, which can involve medication and support programs. Medication used to treat bipolar disorder is usually very effective in preventing bipolar episodes. Support from close …
How common is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a relatively common condition. In Australia, it is thought that around 1% of the population are thought to be affected at some point in their lives.
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 25 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 125 (Click smiley face below to rate)