What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder, also commonly referred to as “Manic Depression” is a mood disorder characterised by periods of extremely “high” moods, known as mania, preceding very “low” moods of sadness known as depression.
What causes Bipolar Disorder?
There is no single factor responsible for the presentation of Bipolar Disorder, though three key factors are known to contribute to the development of the disorder. Genetic vulnerability (familial link), biological vulnerability (chemical imbalances), and stress vulnerability (increased stressful events), all increase the risk of an individual developing Bipolar Disorder.
Who is most susceptible to Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder typically effects both men and women, presenting itself in their late 20’s.
How common is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is not very common, affecting 1% of the population (1 out of 100).
What are the signs and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is characterised by the experience of manic episodes, involving mania or hypermania, followed by states of depression. “Mania” describes abnormally elevated moods where the individual feels euphoric and extremely driven, though may also find them self in an overly irritable state, while “hypermania” is a more moderately elevated moods. For more information regarding “depressive” episodes, please see the Depression fact sheet.
Is someone I know suffering from Bipolar Disorder?
When experiencing “manic” phases, individuals may need significantly less sleep than usual, experience a rapid influx of often grandiose ideas, and may behave in a way that is erratic, impulsive or risky, and display poor judgement. During “depressive” phases, the sufferer’s symptoms may include lack of motivation, low mood, excessive tiredness, and feelings of hopelessness and guilt.
What treatment is available or Bipolar Disorder?
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder can be complex. Typically, the individual will require a combination of both medication and psychotherapy to assist in the management of the three stages of the condition; crisis, management and recovery. Successful maintenance of the disorder includes recognising and managing symptoms, learning how to avoid potential triggers, and enhancing problem solving abilities. In preventing the recurrence of symptoms, compliance with medication, living a regular and balanced lifestyle, social support and established coping techniques are important factors.