Bipolar disorder used to be known as ‘manic depression’. It is a serious mental illness and involves significant extremes of mood, eg. extreme highs during ‘mania’, to extreme lows during the depression stage. However, people can also experience depressed mood with the restlessness and over-activity of a manic episode. Bipolar disorder differs from normal mood swings, in that each extreme of mood may last for several weeks or months at a time, and are far beyond what most of us experience.

Symptoms of mania may include any of the following:

  • Full of energy
  • Talking very quickly
  • Feeling more important than usual
  • Moving quickly from one idea to another
  • Unable or unwilling to sleep
  • Making plans that are unrealistic
  • Recklessly spending money
  • Over-familiar or recklessly critical with people
  • Less inhibited in general

Symptoms of depression may include any of the following:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Self hatred
  • An inability to enjoy things which were once pleasurable
  • Guilt
  • Loss of energy or motivation
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Poor concentration, indecisiveness
  • Irritability, anger
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

There are different types of Bipolar disorder and treatment. The management of this disorder requires specialist treatment and care.

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