PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Depression: Manic Depression

Manic depression is also called bipolar disorder, and it's the second type of
clinical depression. Bipolar means having two opposite ways of being. Kids and adults who suffer from this disorder go through two emotional phases: the depressed or "down" phase, and the manic or "up" phase. They can bounce between them like a yo-yo.

The symptoms of the down phase can be all the ones listed in Signs and Symptoms. But when people who have this illness aren't acting depressed, they are often manic, which means excited or frenzied. Manic seems like the opposite of depression, even though it's really part of the same illness.

When people with this illness switch from depressive to manic, they go from having no energy and being very sad to having way too much energy and feeling like they can do absolutely anything they want to, like some sort of superhero.

Here are some more symptoms of the manic or "up" phase of manic depression:


  • Feeling extra-high, like everything is absolutely perfect.
  • Feeling like you can accomplish anything, no matter how outrageous.
  • Feeling pumped and ready to take on the world.
  • Feeling very opinionated and up for any argument.
Physical Health
  • Having huge amounts of energy.
  • Rarely sleeping at all.
  • Having different thoughts rush through your head without stopping.
  • Talking and moving around constantly.
  • Taking on all kinds of activities or projects.
  • Acting rebellious.
  • Taking risks or engaging in dangerous behavior all the time.
  • Doing "crazy" things like overspending or being wild with friends.
This "up" phase may last a few hours or days, and then the emotional yo-yo will drop back to the "down" phase, and the person will feel wiped out and sad again. It's important to remember that bipolar disorder is simply a different kind of clinical depression. It can absolutely be treated and brought under control.

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