Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression although this is an older term that is not much used nowadays. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme changes in mood, energy and activity levels that cause noticeable changes in a person's behavior. While many people have periodic ups and downs in their mood, people with bipolar disorder are unable to function normally at home, school, or work during the extremes of their illness. Bipolar disorder tends to run in families.
People with this disorder experience episodes of intense emotional states: feeling "high" or an excessively happy state is called a manic episode, while a sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. When in a manic state, one feels unusually elated, more irritable, easily distracted and unable to concentrate or focus. When in a depressed episode, the person usually feels very sad most of the time, has thoughts about death or suicide, cries for no reason, loses interest in activities that were enjoyable, and experiences changes in appetite and sleep patterns. These cycles of highs and lows can last for months or even years.
A diagnosis of bipolar disorder means that a person must have experienced an episode of mania or hypomania, which is a less severe form of mania. However, many people with bipolar disorder have more low periods than high ones and they first seek treatment for their depression symptoms. Without a history of high periods or mania the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is difficult to make and people can be misdiagnosed for several years prior to having a manic episode which reveals the correct diagnosis. People with bipolar disorders can also have hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that other people do not hear or see), especially during severe manic episodes.
This simple questionnaire is designed to help you determine if you have symptoms of bipolar / manic depression disorder and could benefit from professional help.