Mood Disorders

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (formally called manic depression) is a mood disorder characterized by severe mood swings, which range from very high to very low. Bipolar disorder often begins in a person’s youth or early adulthood and can last throughout a person’s life.


Clinically, undiagnosed depression presents itself in a variety of ways in the primary care setting. Complaints of chronic fatigue, low energy, decreased activity, poor appetite, prolonged weight gain and loss, and general aches and pains can be associated with any number of common medical problems seen daily by family doctors, but also can be signs of depression. Although these symptoms are not life-threatening themselves, when depression goes undiagnosed, they can have potentially serious and life-threatening consequences.

This section of the toolkit provides healthcare professionals with additional resources and screening tools to help identify and treat patients with bipolar disorder and depression.