Unfortunately, much of what people think they know about bipolar disorder is not accurate. The pattern of highs and lows varies for each person: For some people, episodes of mania or depression can last for weeks or months, while for others, mood swings are shorter and more frequent. Coping with bipolar disorder — and the mood swings it brings — can be difficult. But understanding what causes mood swings can be the first step in coping with the ups and downs of bipolar disorder.
In order to understand what that means, it is pivotal to communicate the distinction between an emotion and a mood. A mood is an inescapable, pervasive, and sustained emotion that, when extreme, can disrupt one’s whole view of life. While moods mostly fall into two categories such as positive and negative, they are harder to define than emotions because emotions are evoked by a stimulus.