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Previously referred to as manic depression or manic depressive illness, bipolar is a severe mental health condition characterised by significant mood swings between severe depression and over-excitability. Between 1% and 2% of the population experience bipolar at some time in life: overall prevalence in the UK is 2.4%, and people may experience one, two, or many episodes. Occurs in both sexes, onset usually at 18-24 years. On average it can take 9 years to get a correct diagnosis. Bipolar increases an individual's risk of suicide by up to 20 times. 

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