Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings, or episodes that are far beyond what most people experience in their lives. These episodes consist of (i) low mood, i.e. feelings of intense depression and despair, called “depression” and (ii) high mood, i.e. feelings of elation and restlessness, called “mania”. The condition used to be called “manic depression”. Most people usually experience both depressive and manic episodes.