Bipolar Disorder – otherwise known as Manic Depression- is a lifelong disorder that causes extreme episodes of mania and depression.

A complex mix of physical and social factors are thought to cause the disorder, including a chemical imbalance in the brain, genetics and physical triggers, like an abusive relationship or another mental illness. Symptoms of Bipolar disorder vary depending on whether you’re facing mania or depression. Each episode lasts for weeks, sometimes months, and can dramatically impact an afflicted person’s life.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • – Often feeling sad, hopeless or irritable for no reason
  • – Lacking energy and motivation
  • – A feeling of guilt, despair, emptiness and worthlessness
  • – Self-doubt
  • – A pessimistic attitude towards everything
  • – Difficulty remembering and concentrating
  • – Loss of interest in hobbies or passions
  • – Lack of appetite and difficulty sleeping
  • – Facing delusions, hallucinations and disturbed or illogical thinking
  • – Waking unusually early
  • – Suicidal thoughts
Bipolar

Symptoms of mania include:

  • – Feeling very happy, elated or overjoyed
  • – Talking emphatically and quickly
  • – Feeling full of energy
  • – Feeling self-important
  • – Feeling filled to bursting with great ideas and plans
  • – Being easily distracted
  • – Being irrational, arrogant or agitated
  • – Being delusional, having hallucinations, and thinking disturbing or illogical thoughts
  • – Having a lack of restraint
  • – Not feeling like sleeping or eating
  • – Making decisions that are out of character
  • – Taking lots of risks
  • – Denial of being in a manic episode

Between episodes of mania and depression, some people feel a “normal mood”, but often there is no normal period between the episodes. The patterns aren’t always the same and some people may experience rapid cycling between mania and depression or a mixed state, with symptoms from both mania and depression.

Treatment

There are a variety of treatments for Bipolar disorder that aim to decrease the severity of symptoms and increase the “normal period” between episodes. These include medication, therapy and lifestyle advice (regular exercise, a healthy diet, meditation, ect). Sometimes Bipolar disorder can be so drastic that the sufferer is admitted to hospital for the length of their episode, although this isn’t often the case.

If you or someone you know suspects they may be suffering from Bipolar disorder, contact your GP and tell a trusted adult.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact a support line and confide in your close friends.

For Samaritans call 116 123