Bipolar Disorder

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:

  • Sadness
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Anxiety
  • 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.

consultation taking notes

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.

Frequently asked questions

If you are not taking medication to manage your disorder in a long term way and you have begun to identify the early warning signs of an episode, it’s important to seek support as soon as you can. When struggling with a manic episode, you may engage in dangerous behaviours.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder, alongside having an ongoing relationship with a psychiatrist to monitor your medication. CBT can help you develop strategies for managing your early warning signs and triggers.
Bipolar disorder is predominantly a biological disorder. Because of this, medication often makes up an important part of treatment and so we will generally suggest that you have an initial consultation with a psychiatrist.

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Dr Stacie Tay

Dr Stacie Tay attained her BSc (Hons) Psychology at the University of Nottingham and worked as a psychologist at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore, before returning to the UK to complete her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University College London.   

Dr Tay has worked in a variety of settings within the NHS for more than eight years, including primary and secondary care, specialist psychological services and forensic inpatient settings. She currently works as a Clinical Psychologist at the North East London Foundation Trust.  

She has extensive experience working with individuals and groups, providing evidence-based psychological therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Mindfulness-based approaches as well as Schema-informed therapy.   

Dr Tay’s clinical experience involves working with people who present with a range of mild to severe mental health difficulties. This includes depression, anxiety (OCD, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, health anxiety, phobia-related disorders, PTSD), stress related issues, low self-esteem, complex trauma, interpersonal difficulties, grief and bereavement, and long-term health conditions.