What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder (also known as Manic Depression)

Bipolar disorder is associated with profound changes in your mood, (i.e. beyond the normal mood band), sometimes producing, delusions, i.e. strange ideas.  Often from depression to mania, sometimes from depression to relative normality or mania to relative normality, (all could said to be autonomous, in that they occur independently of external events).

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder may include:

Depressive Phase: very similar to endogenous depression, its onset can be either gradual or in some cases dramatic i.e. you will experience them almost overnight.  Symptoms may include, despondence, feelings of despair, pessimism, lack of interest in the pleasures of life, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, lack of insight, slow and laboured thought and speech, (of anxious, morbid and on occasion suicidal nature), lethargy and indecision, sleep disturbance, in the extreme you may refuse to eat, talk or become immobile.

Manic Phase: ordinary good spirits often reflect a pleasant situation, your judgement remains unimpaired and daily hassles soon ‘bring you down’, however, persistent and unusually high spirits are referred to as elation or mania.  Mania is the opposite to depression, although usually more pleasurable, it can prove even more devastating, for, while you remain blissfully unaware of your condition, it’s generally family and friends who are distressed.  Symptoms may include, inappropriate elation, zany sense of humour, increased energy, unrealistic optimism, daring or grand ideas, impulsiveness, impatience, impaired judgement, indiscretions, (sometimes of a sexual nature), or excessive irritability and paranoia.  Whatever, there is, excessively rapid thought and speech, speeded up movement, overactivity, pathologically bad judgement.

Other definitions / quotes regarding recovery…

At their height, each phase can be associated with periods where you experience visual or auditory hallucinations, i.e. your senses play tricks on you (see Schizophrenia section).  These are generally associated with depressed or elated subject matter, and tend to subside as the mood swing subsides.

Effects if not addressed: significant impairment of a your ability to function, concentrate and participate in normal personal relationships.  This results in a deterioration in your social and work relations, and consequent personal decline.

When addressed: whilst bipolar disorder is distressing and challenging, (to all concerned), in recent years there have been major advances in their management.  This has included the provision of user-led, person centred and recovery services providing a range of approaches which can be adapted to meet individual needs.  As a result, provided you are prepared to engage with these ‘services’, the prospect of your recovery from bipolar disorder is extremely high  i.e. there is every chance that you will continue to live a purposeful and fulfilling life.

What is:  Depression  |  Recovery  |  Bipolar Disorder  |  Anxiety  |  Schizophrenia