There are four different types of bipolar disorder, including bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and unspecified bipolar disorder, which includes conditions that don't fit into the other categories.
People with these disorders can have episodes that look much like depression (a different condition), including feeling sad and worried, a loss of energy, sleeping too much, and suicidal thoughts.
Unlike depression, however, people with bipolar also have episodes of mania (associated with bipolar I) or hypomania (associated with bipolar II). People experiencing mania may be more likely to engage in risky behavior, including spending money or having reckless sex, as well as have euphoria, high energy, little need for sleep, irritability, racing thoughts, rapid speech, and other symptoms. Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.
Sometimes mania can include psychosis, which is a break with reality along with hallucinations and delusions that require hospitalization.
People can also experience a mixed state that includes high and low symptoms all at once. People with bipolar disorder are at elevated risk of substance abuse and suicide, and people are often prescribed medication to help control the episodes.