What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a condition that can affect your mood, making it swing from one extreme to another. If you are suffering from bipolar disorder you will have episodes of depression during which you feel low and lethargic, alternating with episodes of mania during which you feel high and overactive.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on which mood you are experiencing at the time. Unlike mood swings, in bipolar disorder, each mood can last for several weeks with some people rarely experiencing a ‘normal’ or ordinary mood.
Bipolar disorder symptoms
Symptoms of a depressed phase:
- Uncontrollable crying
- Loss of interest or enjoyment in activities
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Excessive guilt
- Suicidal thoughts and urges
Symptoms of a manic phase:
- Increased energy
- Unusual talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Little need for sleep
- Inflated self-esteem
- Spending sprees
There are two different types of bipolar disorder, bipolar I and bipolar II. The main difference between them is that a person with bipolar I has manic episodes, while someone with bipolar II has hypomanic episodes. The main difference between mania and hypomania is the severity.
Treatment for bipolar disorder
Medication is an important aspect of the treatment of bipolar disorder. This is prescribed to prevent episodes of mania, hypomania and depression and also to treat the symptoms of depression when they occur.
If you need to be assessed for bipolar disorder, the first step would be to see a Consultant Psychiatrist for an assessment.
Therapy can also play an important part in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help you better cope with your symptoms and learn how to recognise when mood shifts are about to happen.