Everyone has mood swings, and some may experience these with greater frequency or severity than others, but when do these ups and downs qualify as bipolar disorder? The difference between the usual highs and lows of life and this mental disorder is the severity and the frequency of the changes. Someone who has bipolar disorder will go from deeply depressed to being euphoric and full of energy, and treatment usually consists of mood stabilizer drugs in order to minimize the swing of the emotional pendulum. In order to be diagnosed with a mental disorder the episodes of unusual thoughts and behaviors usually must last days at least. Everyone is going to be somewhat depressed when certain negative events occur, and we would all be full of energy and excitement if we won a large amount of money in the lottery.
If you or someone you know suffers from severe mood swings and you are concerned that the problem may be bipolar disorder then there are a few things you can do. Start keeping a journal of your feelings, emotions, and activities. Record when you start to get low or when you seem to be full of energy and have an inflated sense of self esteem. This will help any mental health professionals that you consult for treatment come up with an accurate diagnosis of the conditions involved. If depression or the other extreme seem to create problems in your life then mental health treatment should be sought. Whether it is just severe mood swings or bipolar depression there is help available if you are just willing to reach out and ask for it.