By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When it comes to bipolar disorder many people who are being casually labeled with the condition don’t have it.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness where one’s mood vacillates between periods of mania and periods of depression. In many cases it requires medicine to control it, but one of the reasons you may have heard the term is because it’s being diagnosed more often.

Here is where we have the problem. A large increase in the number of children and adolescents being diagnosed with the condition has occurred in the past fifteen years.

But here’s the key point. The diagnosis should not be taken lightly. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder should be made by a trained professional, and a second opinion is a great idea. You clearly want as much information as possible.

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