This section provides information on bipolar disorder, including symptoms of the condition, and how it can be treated and managed. It will also cover the recommendations for treatment that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) makes.
- Approximately 1% of the population has bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression).
- Symptoms of mania include: increased energy, euphoria, impulsive behaviour and enhanced belief in own powers.
- Symptoms of depression include: lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem and suicidal tendencies. Psychotic symptoms can also be experienced in bipolar disorder.
- There are different types of bipolar disorder depending how often you experience episodes and how extreme they can be.
- It is thought that genetics, brain chemicals and environmental factors play a role in causing the illness.
- Mood stabilisers, antidepressants and antipsychotics are commonly prescribed to treat bipolar. Often a combination of medication can be useful. Psychological treatments also have a role to help people overcome depressive periods as well as understanding the illness and promoting self care.
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a severe mood disorder (sometimes known as an affective disorder). It causes unusual shifts in a person's mood characterised by either an extreme high (mania) or extreme low (depression) often with periods of normal mood in between. Of course everybody experiences changes in mood, but the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe, having effects on areas of life such as relationships, work and school. However, bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice and Information Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in February 2012. Next review March 2014.
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