A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder:  Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people go back and forth between periods of a very good mood or irritable mood and depression. The mood swings between mania and depression can be very quick.
Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally. It usually starts between ages 15 - 25. The exact cause is unknown but it occurs more often in relatives of people with bipolar disorder. In most people with bipolar disorder, there is no clear cause for the manic or depressive episodes.

The following may trigger a manic episode in people with bipolar disorder:
•    Life changes such as childbirth
•    Medications such as antidepressants or steroids
•    Periods of sleeplessness
•    Recreational drug use

The manic phase may last from days to months. It can include the following symptoms:
•    Easily distracted
•    Little need for sleep
•    Poor judgment
•    Poor temper control

The depressed phase of bipolar disorder includes the following symptoms:
•    Daily low mood or sadness
•    Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
•    Eating problems
•    Loss of appetite and weight loss. Overeating and weight gain
•    Fatigue or lack of energy
•    Feeling worthless, hopeless, or guilty

Help and advice for people with a long-term condition or their carers is also available from charities, support groups and associations.

If you're feeling suicidal or having severe depressive symptoms, contact your doctor, care co-ordinator or local mental health emergency services as soon as possible. If you want to talk to someone confidentially, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. You can talk to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Bipolar Disorder Organisations
Bipolar UK - Home
Bipolar disorder - Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental ...


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