What is Bipolar Disorder?

People with Bipolar Disorder experience extreme changes in mood (mood swings), which include depressive episodes and episodes of either mania or hypomania. There are two types of Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The symptoms for both are similar, however Bipolar I is sometimes thought to be more severe. Both can cause significant impairment in everyday functioning.

What are the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder includes both depressive and manic, or hypomanic symptoms. Hypomania symptoms are the same as for mania, but they are less severe. Some common signs of Bipolar Disorder are listed below.

Depressive symptoms:

  • Feeling sad, or low in mood most of the day, nearly everyday
  • Fatigue and/or insomnia, or hypersomnia
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling worthless and/or hopeless
  • Changes in eating habits and/or significant weight changes

Mania symptoms:

  • Racing thoughts and rapid or erratic speech
  • Talking more than usual
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • A sense of grandiosity, such as believing you have special talents or powers
  • Decreased need for sleep, without feeling tired
  • Delusions and/or hallucinations

Treatment for bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a life-long disorder, however with effective management, people with bipolar can lead productive and healthy lives. Effective management of the disorder involves psychological treatment and medication. The most effective psychological treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It works by helping people to control their moods and aims to help identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. Your psychologist may also help you to manage stress and implement routines. Your GP can discuss mood stabilising medications with you to find the right one for you.

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our clinical psychologists, contact us.

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