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Thread: DWD MH Factsheet #4 - Bipolar Disorder

  1. #1
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Jane Austen country

    DWD MH Factsheet #4 - Bipolar Disorder

    At DWD we cannot and will never try to replace a qualified medical team. We are not medically trained. The information contained within this factsheet is based on literature from reputable sources (e.g. national and international health services, established national and international charities etc) along with experience gained from our own lives as they’ve been affected by mental health problems.

    Bipolar Disorder is a mental health illness characterised by mood swings ranging from extreme highs (mania) to depressive lows. It is also sometimes referred to as Manic Depression or Bipolar Affective Disorder. It is a difficult condition to diagnose and sometimes take years to get a definite diagnosis. Bipolar Disorder can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, social background or age (though it often develops in teenage years and less often after 40). The exact cause of the illness is unknown but it can be triggered by situations such as stress, overwhelming problems, life changing events, the menopause or pregnancy. If you have a family member with Bipolar Disorder, it can increase your chances of developing the illness.

    There are three main categories of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar I - where you experience at least one episode of mania that lasts a minimum of a week. You may also have severe depressive episodes. Bipolar II where you’ve experienced at least one episode of severe depression and symptoms of hypomania. Cyclothymia - where you experience hypomania and depressive mood states over at least two years but your symptoms are not as severe as with Bipolar I and II.

    With these three categories, normally the mood states will last for a significant period of time without treatment - months rather than weeks. However, some people experience rapid cycling where the mood swings are more rapid - at least four changes within a year.

    Bipolar Disorder symptoms include:

    Mania - someone in this mood state may have a feeling of euphoria, be extremely excitable, agitated, have increased sexual energy, feel untouchable and be easily distracted. They may lose social inhibitions, spend money excessively, misuse drugs or alcohol, take risks with their safety. They may suffer with psychosis including delusions and hallucinations.

    Hypomania - is similar to mania but less severe, less intrusive on normal daily life, lasts for a shorter period of time and doesn’t include any psychosis.

    Depression - see

    Mixed episodes - where someone will be suffering with depression and mania or hypomania at the same time or quickly one after the other.

    Bipolar Disorder can be effectively treated. Treatments include - antidepressants, mood stabilisers (which are usually prescribed long term. Lithium Carbonate is the most commonly prescribed but anti convulsants or anti psychotics are also used). Talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychoeducation (helping people better understand mental health conditions) and family therapy, can also be beneficial.

    There are many ways to work to prevent or reduce the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Self care (eg a good sleep pattern, eating healthily and exercising), managing stress and being kind to yourself (eg something as simple as sitting in a coffee shop reading a book) are important elements of any treatment. Many find meditation/mindfulness very helpful. Talking to friends and family and/or a mental health professional can also help. Peer to peer support can be invaluable such as a forum like

    It may seem that managing your condition is impossible but, with the right treatment and support, you can manage your symptoms, reduce the impact on your daily life and increase your wellbeing.


    Dealing with Depression (DWD) - Helplines etc

    Mind - What is Bipolar Disorder?

    NHS - Bipolar Disorder
    The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Paula For This Useful Post:

    Allalone (02-09-19),Angie (03-12-18),Jaquaia (03-12-18),Jarre (03-12-18),OldMike (04-12-18),Suzi (03-12-18)

  3. #2
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Surrey. UK
    Another brilliant factsheet. Thank you Paula.
    Do a little of something that makes you happy every day!

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to Suzi For This Useful Post:

    Paula (03-12-18)

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