Bipolar Disorder, which formerly was known as Manic Depressive Illness, is evidenced through unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. The symptoms can be severe and are not the same as the normal ups and downs that nearly everyone periodically experiences. Bipolar Disorders can lead to extreme mood swings, poor school and job performance, and even suicidal ideation. Usually emotional states of either depression or being overly excited are more pronounced than people who do not have this disorder. A person with Bipolar Disorder experiences noticeably unstable moods and can display symptoms for a day, a week, or sometimes much longer. Prevalence of Bipolar Disorder is 1% of the population and usually is present for the first time between the ages of 15 and 25 although some children may display early onset. Genetic factors contribute substantially to the likelihood of developing Bipolar Disorder. Fortunately, with good treatment and oftentimes medication, a person can be stable with their moods and lead a normal and productive life.
National Institute of Mental Health