You are asking sensible questions ; what bothers me is that I would expect any good doctor / psychiatrist : and social worker : to anticipate such very natural questions, and discuss such issues with you. Maybe they did discuss these with your mother, but not with you, perhaps not recognizing your likely concern and involvement. But do feel free to ask more specific question of them : it's part of their job to deal with these. You will also find articles about Depression and it's treatment elsewhere within Health24
Depression is a common and serious illness, and one variety of it is Bipolar Disorder in which there could be episodes not only of a "down" swing of mood into sadness, but an upswing into feeling too well, too active, etc.
There is an overlap in treatment : antidepressant meds are used in both, and in Bipolar Disorder, also some drugs ( some also used in schizophrenia ) use as Mood Stabilizers, to seek to reduce the extreme swings of mood.
I'm not sure specifically why the doctors got a social worker involved in this situation, but they can be very helpful in helping your mother and you to deal with some of the issues caused by the illness, and in planning practical care for her.
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