Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. Although the symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary between people, what is common is that people experience mood swings which interfere with their lives. Although many people are admitted to psychiatric hospitals because their moods have put them at risk, other people with the diagnosis may lead fulfilling lives.
People with bipolar disorder experience periods or ‘episodes’ of depression and mania:
- Depression involves feeling very low and worthless, which often lead to thoughts of suicide.
- Mania involves feeling ‘high’ and having many ambitious plans and goals. The person may not feel the need to sleep, talks fast, and becomes easily irritable and agitated. People may also have symptoms of psychosis (hearing or seeing things which are not there). A less severe version of mania is known as hypomania.
Unlike simple mood swings, each extreme episode of bipolar disorder can last for several weeks or longer.
For more information, visit the NHS website on Bipolar Disorder.
If you seek help for bipolar disorder, you can contact MDF The Bipolar Organisation which is a charity group, supporting people with bipolar disorder.