Factsheets What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a "mood disorder". It affects the normal functioning of the brain so that the person experiences extreme moods - what are called mania and depression.

The mania or "extreme heights" can make a young person look unusually excited or happy, or maybe even believe they are special and can perform amazing feats.

The depression of "lows" can make a young person feel really sad and not do the things they normally would such as going out with friends, working, playing sport etc. They may also feel hopeless.

About 1.6% of the population will develop bipolar disorder at some times in their lives. Like psychosis and schizophrenia, there are many ways that this can be successfully treated and managed.