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Bipolar disorder treatment

Previously known as 'manic depression', bipolar disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis describing a variety of mood disorders. The disorder is characterised by mood swings, ranging from excessive energetic highs to depressive and extreme lows, with episodes lasting from several weeks to several months.

Priory has been helping to treat bipolar disorder for many 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, available at your nearest hospital or wellbeing centre as part of our nationwide network of specialist UK mental health treatment locations.

Covid-19: click here for more information on how we’re currently delivering services.

Bipolar disorder types

There are two types of bipolar disorder:

Bipolar I disorder in which people fluctuate between being depressed and manic.

Bipolar II disorder in which the manic episodes are milder and are known as hypomanic episodes. Bipolar II disorder is more common than bipolar I and does not usually require inpatient care.

Bipolar disorder is a fairly common mental health condition, with around 1 in 100 adults being diagnosed with it at some point during their lifetime. While the disorder can arise in both men and women equally and at any age, you are most likely to observe symptoms during your mid-to-late teens, with the condition rarely diagnosed in middle age or later life.  

These mood swing patterns and how often they occur varies from person to person, with some people experiencing only a handful of bipolar episodes during their lifetime, while others may go through many episodes.

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Bipolar disorder and manic depression

Bipolar disorder used to be referred to as 'manic depression' due to the symptoms of mania and the less extreme hypomania associated with the condition. If you are diagnosed with the disorder, the energetic highs during an episode are aligned with an increased feeling of wellbeing, although these symptoms can be so intense that it can affect your judgement and decision-making abilities, making it nearly impossible to manage your life effectively.

Alternatively, when you experience an episode on the extremely low scale, depression is one of the most common symptoms of bipolar disorder. Whilst sadness is a feeling that everyone will experience at some stage in life, if you have bipolar disorder, the extent of the depression felt is far worse. These feelings, possibly combined with other signs of bipolar disorder, will persist for much longer and will make everyday situations in your life much harder to deal with. 

Treatment for bipolar disorder at Priory      

The type and length of treatment for bipolar disorder will depend on your personal circumstances and the severity of the condition. At Priory, some people are treated as an outpatient, which means you can visit your nearest Priory Wellbeing Centre for hourly sessions with a consultant, psychologist or therapist.

If your symptoms of bipolar disorder are particularly debilitating, you may require a more structured treatment approach which can include an inpatient stay at a UK Priory hospital for the duration of your treatment for bipolar disorder, where you take part in our psychological group programme as well as attending regular sessions with an experienced consultant.

This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Leon Rozewicz (MBBS, FRCPsych, MRCGP, MRCPsych) in June 2020, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in June 2022. To view all Priory bipolar disorder specialists, please click here.

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For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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