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Frequently Asked Questions About Bipolar Disorder

Q: What is bipolar disorder?

A: A brain disorder marked by bouts of extreme and impairing changes in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms may emerge either suddenly or gradually during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.

Q: Can bipolar disorder be cured?

A: Clinical depression and bipolar disorder tend to be episodic in nature. These illnesses are treatable, but right now cannot be cured. The goal of treatment should be to manage the disease, decrease the severity of  depressive and manic episodes and keep recurrences to a minimum.

Q: What is the difference between depression and bipolar illness?

A: Clinical depression is also called "unipolar" depression because a person's mood swings only in one direction - down. Normal periods are separated by a steady drop in mood, which becomes lower and lower. In contrast, manic depression is "bipolar," because the mood swings range from low to high (manic) and back again.

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