Bipolar disorder is the name used to describe a set of ‘‘ mood swing’’ conditions, the most severe form of which used to be called ‘‘ manic depression’’.
Bipolar disorder I is the more severe disorder — with individuals being more likely to experience mania, have longer ‘‘ highs’’, be more likely to have psychotic experiences and be more likely to be hospitalised.
Bipolar disorder II is less severe, with no psychotic experiences and with episodes tending to last from hours to a few days.
The high moods are called mania or hypomania, and the low mood is called depression.
It is important to note that everyone has mood swings from time to time. It is only when these moods become extreme and interfere with personal and professional life that bipolar disorder may be present, and medical assessment may be warranted.