Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental illness that affects as many as 10 million individuals in the United States alone. It is called bipolar disorder because there are 2 phases to the illness: an "up," or manic phase, and a "down," or depressive phase. Bipolar disorder is distinguished from unipolar depression, which is recurrent episodes of depression without any episodes of elevated mood. Persons who have bipolar disorder may have either more episodes of mania or more episodes of depression in the course of their illness. Like other chronic illnesses (such as diabetes and hypertension), bipolar disorder can be treated. Bipolar disorder is associated with a high rate of suicide. It is important for persons with bipolar disorder to receive proper diagnosis and treatment with a psychiatrist as early as possible to minimize their risk of self-harm. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialized education in treating persons who have mental illness. The February 4, 2009, issue of JAMA contains an article about smoking cessation in persons with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.