Q: What is bipolar disorder?

A: Bipolar disorder is a condition that causes extreme mood swings. Those with bipolar disorder can experience periods of extreme highs, which can last days, weeks or even months, which can suddenly turns to lengthy periods of deep depression.

Q: How common is bipolar disorder?

A: It's much more common than it used to be. Recent research indicates that about one in 40 Americans struggle with bipolar disorder.

Q: Can polar bears get it?

A: Good question.

Q: How bad are the depression episodes?

A: These periods can be quite severe. Classic depression symptoms can hit hard and linger for long periods of time: hopelessness, loss of interest in things people normally take pleasure in, deep sadness, anxiety, even thoughts of suicide.

Q: How "high" are the manic periods?

A: Manic times can be as extreme on the high side as the depressive periods are on the low side. They can feel enormous self-confidence, high energy, intense excited moods, high motivation and more. People often sleep less, and can become reckless. They often feel irrationally important, even invincible, which can cause the reckless behavior.