If you have bipolar disorder you will experience extreme swings in mood from periods of over-active, excited behaviour know as mania or manic episodes to deep depression. Between these severe highs and lows, you may have stable times.
Symptoms may include:
Manic with psychotic symptoms – You are likely to experience many of the symptoms listed under manic episodes. Suspicion may turn into delusions of persecution and feel convinced others are out there to get you.
Depression with psychotic symptoms – With severe depression you may start seeing and hearing things that others don’t see or hear. Hearing voices accusing you of being nasty or bad. Convinced something bad will happen and is your fault.
Bipolar 1 – Characterised by manic episodes.
Bipolar 2 – Characterised by depressive episodes.
Cyclothymic disorder – Short periods of both mild depression and of hypo-mania.
Rapid cycling – 4 or more episodes or mixed of manic, hypomanic and depressive.
Mixed states – Periods of depression and elation (great happiness) at the same time.
Very little is know about what causes Bipolar disorder, although it does run in families suggesting a genetic link. however you may find no family history of it. The disorder is diagnosed in a rough equal number of men and women.
Most researchers suggest stressful environments, social factors or physical illnesses may trigger the condition and stress is the most significant trigger.
Stressful life events – You may find that you can link your disorder to a period of great stress, such as child birth, relationship breakdown, losing a loved one or money problems.
Childhood distress – Experiencing sever emotional damage in early life, such as physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Grief , loss trauma and neglect can all contribute.
Life problems – Bipolar disorder could be a reaction to overwhelming problems in life.
Medication – Ask support from your GP, Many people find that medication helps to manage the symptoms.
Talking treatments – Including counselling and psychotherapy, Talking treatments can help you understand why you feel as you do and change the way you feel and think. It will also help to reduce the risk of further episodes.
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