Bipolar disorder/manic depressive disorder website
Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)
Bipolar Disorder is a serious mental health problem involving extreme swings of mood (highs and lows). Both men and women of any age from adolescence onwards and from any social or ethnic background can develop Bipolar Disorder.
It often first occurs when work, study, family or emotional pressures or stressors are at their greatest. In women it can also be triggered by childbirth or during menopause.
The illness is episodic, i.e. occurs in phases but it is possible to remain well for long periods.
Typically, the key to coping with Bipolar Disorder is an early diagnosis by a qualified mental health specialist and acceptance of the condition. Severe and/or untreated episodes of
Bipolar Disorder can be very damaging to the person affected and their families and friends.
Most people experience ups and down, (highs and lows). It is only when these become so extreme that they interfere with ordinary everyday activities, and cause you to behave in uncharacteristic ways, that it is called Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression. Two different names for the same thing. Between mood swings people with the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder feel and behave like anyone else with the ordinary ups and downs that anyone can experience. But the extreme highs and lows can affect not only feeling, but also thoughts and behaviour.
Everyone's experience of Bipolar Disorder is different:
Some people are more affected by depressions with just the occasional period of mania. For others, it is the other way round.
Some people experience extreme mood swings only occasionally, with long periods of stability in between, others experience them more up to five or six episodes a year. This is sometimes called "rapid cycling" manic depression.
For some people mood swings seem to be triggered by stressful events in their life, for others they appear to come out of the blue.
For some people, the highs and lows are relatively short, and for others they may last many months.
Some people have just one or two mood swings in their life, others have mood swings for many years, but these often get less severe as you get older.