Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental illness that includes serious episodes of mania and depression. This disease causes drastic changes in highs and lows of temperament, of feeling extremely depressed and hopeless, with changes between periods of normal temperament. Anyone who is suffering bipolar disorder may have to face serious behavioral problems (such as exits to spend money without control) and the permanent consequences of these behaviors. Bipolar disorder typically begins in adolescence or during early adulthood and continues throughout life. It is often not recognized as a disease and people who have the disease may suffer unnecessarily for years or decades.