Bipolar Depression: An Intense Period Of Low Mood And Motivation

Last Update on June 16, 2023 : Published on June 17, 2023
Bipolar Depression

Have you ever heard of bipolar depression… well, if not yet… Please notice that bipolar depression and bipolar disorder are two different mental health problems. While bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that causes intense mood swings.

Bipolar depression is a phase of fatigue, lack of motivation, or low mood that someone struggling with bipolar disorder experiences. In the USA, around 3% of people struggle with this chronic mood disorder. Bipolar depression can cause low energy levels, negative patterns or behavior, or low mood.

What is Bipolar Depression?

To keep it concise, bipolar depression is a major aspect of bipolar disorder, the same as mania. Now the question is, does everyone struggling with bipolar disorder experiences bipolar depression, are the episodes the same as depression? This blog explores what bipolar depression is, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

According to psychology, bipolar depression is a common depressive episode that develops during the mood cycling of bipolar disorder. Research shows that bipolar depression can be intense like mania or hypomania and it can last up to two weeks or months.

Difference Between Bipolar Depression and Depression

According to studies, the symptoms of bipolar depression and major depressive disorder are quite the same. However, in order to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or bipolar depression, an individual must experience five or more symptoms for at least two consecutive weeks as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder 5th Edition (DSM-5).

Below listed are some of the common symptoms of bipolar depression and major depressive disorder that are the same:

The fact is that depressive symptoms or bipolar depression can be commonly seen during Bipolar I, and in such cases, no diagnosis is required. However, when the same symptoms are experienced during bipolar II, they can be severe and require a proper diagnosis and treatment.

In some cases, bipolar depression and manic episodes can occur at the same time and this can be referred to as “mixed features.” Symptoms of mixed features are unprovoked rage, racing thoughts, agitation, irritability, or weeping spells.

Symptoms of Bipolar Depression

Symptoms of bipolar depression are quite similar to an episode of major depressive disorder or clinical depression. An episode of bipolar depression can last for weeks or months. In some cases, the symptoms usually resolve on their own, or in some cases, the symptoms keep on progressing.

Below are some of the common symptoms of bipolar depression:

Causes of Bipolar Depression

According to the research, there could be some possible reasons or factors behind the development of bipolar depression, such as:

  • Biological abnormalities
  • Neurochemical imbalances
  • Genetics
  • Seasonal factors
  • Emotional factors

Many psychologists believe that bipolar depression can develop due to the combination or presence of factors. For example, the presence of bipolar disorder and family genetics can play a major role in the development of bipolar depression. Additionally, a study shows that seasonal factors also play a major role in the development of bipolar depression.

For example, manic episodes or low mood are commonly seen during summer. Moreover, facing relationship problems or emotional imbalances can make someone prone to experience bipolar depression.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar Depression

If you think you or your loved one might be experiencing bipolar depression, the first step is to connect with a mental health professional to seek a proper diagnosis and the right treatment approach.

It’s important to get the right diagnosis because sometimes we misdiagnosed bipolar depression with hypomania or mania.


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After getting a proper diagnosis, below are some effective treatment strategies for treating bipolar depression:


Therapy options like cognitive behavioral therapy are recommended to recognize unhealthy patterns and replace them with positive patterns. Additionally, an individual may learn healthy coping techniques and get professional support to effectively treat bipolar depression and other intense symptoms or episodes of bipolar disorder.


Medications like mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants are prescribed to treat specific symptoms like mood swings, epilepsy, mania, and others.

Supporting a Loved One with Bipolar Depression

If your loved one is struggling with bipolar depression, here’s how you can help them to cope with bipolar depression:

  • Encourage them to seek professional support
  • Join therapy with them
  • Monitor their symptoms
  • Create a crisis plan
  • Stay in touch, exercise with them, and make them nutritious meals
  • Communicate with them regularly

I hope this blog helps you understand everything you need to know about bipolar depression. For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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