Understanding Bipolar Disorder & FDA-Approved Treatments

serious black womanYou—or a loved one—feel depressed. Then very excited, or even “hyper.” Then depressed again. These ups and downs can be a sign of bipolar disorder, a brain disorder.

Though there is no cure for this disorder, medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can treat symptoms and help you feel better.


Bipolar disorder can be present even if symptoms do not appear extreme. There is more than one type of bipolar disorder: bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder.

Bipolar I disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness) causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the lack of ability to do everyday tasks. Symptoms include periods of depression alternating with periods of energized behavior (called “mania” or “manic episodes”).

In the second type of this disorder, called bipolar II disorder, a person with a less severe manic episode (called “hypomania”) may be productive and may not feel like anything is wrong. But this hypomania can then switch to major depressive episodes. So diagnosis is important.

Symptoms of depression include: