Bipolar disorder is sometimes also called manic depression. Approximately one in 50 Australians will develop this disorder in the course of their lifetime.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme moods and mood swings.
A person suffering from this mental condition may experience extreme moods from very low and depressed (depression) to high and over-excited (mania). These moods may last days, weeks or even months. Some people experience more of the manic symptoms than the depressive symptoms, while for others the opposite is true. The severity of the symptoms may also vary from person to person. In extreme cases, a person may experience the symptoms of psychosis where they are unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.
Some of the common mania bipolar symptoms include:
- Thinking and speaking very quickly
- Going without sleep for long periods
- Feeling euphoric or energetic
- Delusions of importance or grandeur
- Irritability and aggression
- Reckless behaviours, such as overspending or unsafe sexual activity
- Grandiose or unrealistic plans.
The depression bipolar symptoms are the same as those for depression and include:
- Extreme low moods
- Withdrawal from people and activities
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Changes in eating patterns and weight loss or gain
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Feelings of anxiety or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviour
The causes for bipolar disorder are under debate, but there is agreement that genetic predispositions and drug or alcohol abuse play a role.
Treatment for it may include medical and depressions treatment such as mood stabilising drugs or antidepressants and psychological treatments such as behavioural therapy. Often these treatments are used in conjunction with one another.
When people experience an acute episode of either mania or depression they may need immediate care and treatment. During these episodes, a person can be of danger to themselves or others.
If you or someone you know is suffering from bipolar disorder it is important to get the right help.
Call today and talk to a psychologist to identify the correct treatment.