Bipolar depression refers to a state of depression which is soon followed by a state of euphoria or mania. This frequent shift from one state to another is what is called  bi-polar disorder. In the state of bipolar depression, the person finds himself/herself depressed and sad all of a sudden for no reason. There is a great deal  of difference between normal depression and bipolar depression. Normal depression can be treated with  antidepressants however when these same antidepressants are used to treat people with bipolar depression, the effects may be quite dangerous. Bipolar depression is generally followed by a state of mania. This does not occur in normal depression.

Bipolar depression is not a phenomenon where the person is sad about something he/she has done. The person suffering from this disorder just cannot get himself/herself to be happy. This sometimes causes extreme frustration for the person and also for the family members. The main causes of this are not yet known but it is believed that this might actually be in the genes. It is also believed that chemical imbalances in the brain can cause this. Identification as well as accurate diagnosis of this condition is the first and the most important step to be achieved.

The symptoms of bipolar depression are quite different from the symptoms of normal depression. Persons suffering from bipolar depression generally feel sad, hopeless and empty. Irritability is another symptom associated with bipolar depression. The person with this condition also fails to enjoy the little things which would have normally given him/her extreme pleasure. The person generally feels fatigued and lacks energy. Bipolar depression also causes physical as well as mental sluggishness. The person generally tends to either lose or gain appetite and this causes the person to put on or lose weight drastically during this period.

Sleep problems are another thing associated with bipolar depression.  The person might find himself/herself tired even after several hours of sleep. The concentration of the person is also severely impaired and his/her memory is affected also. When bipolar depression becomes very severe, the person might even think of suicide. People suffering from bipolar depression are more likely to think of suicide than people suffering from regular depression. Instances of drug abuse and alcoholism are also seen in people suffering from bipolar depression.

There are several options in treating bipolar depression. A comprehensive treatment will be highly beneficial. The treatment should ideally include the use of medication, therapy, social and family support. The use of medication plays a vital role in treating bipolar depression. However, care should be taken in choosing the appropriate medication. The use of antidepressants to treat bipolar depression may sometimes actually cause mania or hypomania and cause extreme swings in the mood of the person.

Reference

http://www.medicinenet.com/bipolar_disorder/article.html