ZocdocAnswersIs bipolar depression common in those with bipolar disorder?

Question

Is bipolar depression common in those with bipolar disorder?

I am 28 and often feel depressed. I have bipolar disorder. Why do I get depressed?

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It sounds like your symptoms are not very well controlled, especially if you are frequently depressed. I strongly recommend that you talk with your psychiatrist about this issue. Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating "high" and "low" moods. Although in popular culture it is common to focus on the "manic" behaviors of people with the disorder, in truth a very large percentage of people with bipolar disorder actually spend most of their time in periods of depression. In fact, some people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed as having major depression, because they are essentially always in "low" moods and only have minimal upswings. Depression is also one of the most dangerous points of bipolar disorder, because it is more likely to lead to substance abuse and to suicidal thoughts or attempts to harm oneself. Therefore, it is very important to get these symptoms under control. Your psychiatrist can discuss with you various medication options to accomplish this. Additionally, if you are currently experiencing any symptoms such as feeling suicidal or thinking about harming yourself, this is a medical emergency and you should seek immediate emergency medical help.

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