Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis describing a variety of mood disorders. This is defined by mood swings, from excessive energetic highs to depressive and extreme lows. Bipolar disorder episodes, whether high or low, can last from several weeks to several months.
The causes of bipolar disorder are still relatively unknown. Research indicates a genetic link in association with a physical problem with the systems in our brain which controls our moods as well as a knock on effect from stressful experiences or physical illness.
It is estimated that approximately one in every 100 adults has bipolar disorder at some stage in their life. It usually occurs during or after adolescence. There do not appear to be any gender differences, affecting men and women equally.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?-
Symptoms associated with bipolar disorder differ in line with the varying nature of the condition. However, certain behavioural patterns are common. These include manic or depressive episodes, with many people with bipolar disorder developing psychotic symptoms. In a manic state you will have extreme confidence in your abilities while in a depressive state you believe you're worse than anyone else or even that you don't exist. For more information on the symptoms of bipolar disorder click here.
What is mania and hypomania?-
Mania is a heightened sense of well-being which is offset with extreme energy and optimism. Mania can be so intense it can affect a person's judgement and decision-making and make it almost impossible to deal with life effectively. This can have a negative impact on both personal relationships and those with colleagues at work. Periods where symptoms are not as extreme are known as hypomania. Symptoms include:
- Elevated mood
- Increased self-confidence
- More talkative nature
- Becoming easily distracted
- Making poor judgement
- Reduced sleep
Depression and bipolar-
Depression is one of the common symptoms of bipolar disorder. Whilst it is a feeling that everyone will experience at some stage in life, for sufferers of bipolar disorder, the depression experienced is far worse. The feelings, possibly combined with other signs of bipolar disorder, will persist for much longer and will make everyday occurrences in life much harder to deal with. Symptoms include:
- Decrease in self-confidence
- Inability to make decisions
- Reduced sleep
- Negative thoughts about life
- Lack of interest in friends and family
- Becoming isolated from friends
- Suicidal thoughts
How the Priory can help-
The Priory has been helping to treat bipolar disorder and providing bipolar support for over 25 years. We recognise that each individual’s situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to their needs.
The type and length of treatment for bipolar disorder is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity of the condition. Some are treated as an outpatient, which means they visit the Priory for hourly sessions with their consultant, psychologist or therapist. Others require a more structured treatment approach which can include an inpatient stay at a Priory hospital for the duration of their treatment, where they take part in the psychological group programme as well as attending regular sessions with their consultant.