When ill or symptomatic, most people spend more time in a depressive phase than in a manic or hypomanic phase. Bipolar depression can be managed with a treatment plan.

a young woman struggles to deal with bipolar depression treatment

Many people recognize the term bipolar disorder. You may be a little less familiar with the term “bipolar depression.”

While symptoms of both bipolar depression and mania can cause problems for people with bipolar disorder, some people report that bipolar depression tends to have a greater impact.

Episodes of bipolar depression last longer, and when they are ill, people experience depressive symptoms at least 3 times as often as they do manic symptoms.

What You Should Know About Bipolar Depression

  • Depressive episodes of bipolar disorder usually last longer than episodes of mania
  • When ill or symptomatic, people typically spend more time in the depressive phase than they do in the manic or hypomanic phase
  • Recovering from depressive episodes typically takes longer than it does for manic episodes
  • The majority of suicides and suicide attempts among people with bipolar disorder occur during the depressive, or a mixed, phase
  • Bipolar depression can be treated effectively, often through a combination of talk therapy and medication

Recognizing bipolar depression

During a bipolar depression episode, you may…

  • easily lose interest in things
  • stop doing things you usually enjoy and feel that those things just aren’t worth doing any longer
  • feel persistent sadness
  • feel empty inside
  • feel worthless
  • feel undeserving of anything good
  • may lose weight without trying or gain weight from eating more than usual
  • have trouble sleeping
  • You may have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • sleep excessively and not want to get out of bed in the morning
  • not have the energy to go about everyday tasks
  • have trouble thinking
  • have problems concentrating and/or making decisions
  • appear restless or move slower than usual in doing everyday tasks.
  • think obsessively about death
  • come to believe that life is not worth living or make a plan to take your own life

Bipolar depression can be mistaken for other conditions. Learn about different types of depression.