Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterised by extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

These mood episodes can range from mild to severe and can interfere with daily functioning, relationships, and overall well-being. Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management.

How can Bipolar Disorder affect you?

 Bipolar disorder can have a profound impact on various aspects of life:

  • Emotional Well-being: Individuals with bipolar disorder may experience intense mood swings, from euphoria and high energy during manic episodes to deep sadness and hopelessness during depressive episodes.
  • Relationships: Fluctuating moods can strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Erratic behaviour during manic episodes and withdrawal during depressive episodes may lead to conflict and isolation.
  • Work or School: Bipolar disorder can affect work or academic performance due to difficulty concentrating, mood-related absenteeism, and challenges with decision-making and productivity.
  • Physical Health: Neglect of self-care during manic or depressive episodes, such as disrupted sleep patterns and changes in appetite, can impact physical health and increase the risk of other medical conditions.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder:

  • Manic Episode: Increased energy, racing thoughts, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, reckless behaviour, impulsivity, and grandiose ideas.
  • Hypomanic Episode: Similar symptoms to manic episodes but less severe. Hypomania may not impair functioning as much but can still cause significant disruptions.
  • Depressive Episode: Persistent sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, fatigue, changes in appetite or weight, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, trouble concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Mixed Episode: Symptoms of both manic and depressive episodes occurring simultaneously or in rapid alternation.

How can you manage Bipolar Disorder?

Managing bipolar disorder involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and support:

  • Medication: Mood stabilisers, antipsychotic medications, antidepressants, and other medications may be prescribed to stabilise mood and prevent episodes.
  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), psychoeducation, and interpersonal therapy can help individuals understand and cope with bipolar symptoms, manage stress, and improve relationships.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise, healthy eating, sufficient sleep, stress reduction techniques, and avoiding drugs and alcohol can help stabilise mood and reduce the risk of episodes.
  • Support Network: Building a support network of family, friends, support groups, and mental health professionals can provide encouragement, understanding, and practical assistance in managing bipolar disorder.

Where to get help

If you or someone you know is struggling with symptoms of bipolar disorder, seeking help from a qualified mental health professional is essential. With proper treatment and support, individuals with bipolar disorder can lead fulfilling and productive lives.

Speak to your GP: Your GP will be able to signpost you to services and talk to you about medication.

Bipolar UK : Provides information and support for those affected by Bipolar Disorders.

Bipolar UK National UK Charity

Mind: Mind have a range of useful resources and information to help support those affected by Bipolar Disorders.