Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. It is characterised by extreme mood swings which can range from extreme highs to extreme lows. If you have bipolar disorder, you are likely to have times when you experience:

If you have bipolar disorder, you are likely to have times where you experience:

  • Manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high)
  • Depressive episodes (feeling low)
  • Potentially some psychotic symptoms during manic or depressed episodes

It is not known what causes bipolar although it is widely believed to be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain.

Unlike a simple mood swing, if you have bipolar episodes of mania and depression often last for several weeks or months. These changes can be very distressing and have a big impact on your life. You may feel that your high and low moods are extreme, and that swings in your mood are overwhelming.

Depending on the way you experience these mood states, and how severely they affect you, your doctor may diagnose you with a particular type of bipolar disorder. Untreated, episodes of bipolar-related mania can last between 3 to 6 months. Episodes of depression tend to last longer. With effective treatment, episodes can be improved within about 3 months.

Most people with bipolar disorder can be treated using a combination of different treatments.

MHS has both psychiatrists and therapists on hand to help.