Bipolar Disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

If you have bipolar disorder you will experience swings in mood. During ‘manic’ episodes, you are likely to display overactive, excited or impulsive behaviour. At other times, you may go through long periods of feeling very depressed. There are different types of bipolar disorder, which depend on how often these swings in mood occur and how severe they are. Bipolar is a condition that lasts a lifetime and it will give you an unpredictable run of downs and ups. If it isn’t treated, then these swings can be devastating. These recurring depressive and manic episodes that are known within this condition can make it difficult to lead a productive and stable life. When the condition enters the manic phase, you can become irresponsible and hyperactive. And when things get really bad, it can be difficult to function at all.

What are the symptoms?

If you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more regularly than episodes of mania, or vice versa. Between these episodes you may experience periods of stability.

The patterns of mood instability will also vary from person to person.  Some people will experience rapid mood cycling, moving from high to low very quickly without having a period of stability in between. Others will describe a more mixed state with symptoms of over activity at the same time as a depressed mood.

During depressive cycles you will experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling sad most of the time
  • Poor sleep: over sleeping, difficulty getting off to sleep, frequent waking in the night or early morning wakening
  • Poor appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased irritability
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • A feeling that life is not worth living

During manic cycles you will experience some or all of these symptoms:

  • Feeling very happy or elated in mood
  • Talk very quickly
  • Be overactive and struggle to switch off
  • Increase in impulsive behaviours
  • Difficulties in sticking to tasks
  • Feeling full of new ideas and plans
  • Spending large amounts of money on goods that you do not need and can’t afford

What are the therapies that can help?

Related issues

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Bipolar UK