What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder, is a type of mental health condition where there are alternating episodes of elevated mood (mania) and depression which hampers the ability to function in life. To people who are unfamiliar with the condition, it may seem like it is just a matter of having mood swings. However, there is much more to bipolar disorder.
What is Depression?
There is often no clear distinction between the low moods we all suffer from at some point in our lives and depression, the state when it becomes an illness which needs treatment. Depression may be mild, moderate or severe.
Mild depression may be difficult to recognize and is quite often missed, but depression is not just a more serious form of sadness or being “off-mood”. When in doubt about the diagnosis, it is helpful to look for the psychological symptoms of depression, such as anhedonia (loss of desire for pleasure).
A more severe form of depression is also known as major depressive disorder (MDD) and may result in suicide. Depression can result from a medical condition or it may be the cause for certain unexplained medical symptoms.
What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, uneasiness or distress and this is a normal emotion in the course of a person’s life. In an anxiety disorder, this feeling is unwarranted and at times persistent. It can reach levels where it causes physical symptoms and affect a person’s level of functioning to the point that they cannot continue with their jobs, interact on a social basis or even complete daily tasks.
In an anxiety disorder, the feeling is not a normal response to stress – in most instances there is no stressful situation precipitating the onset of this emotion. Often patients with anxiety are also depressed.