Living with bipolar can be like not living at all...

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health illness which affects about 1 in every 100 people during their lifetime. It causes extreme mood shifts and recurring episodes of mania (feeling high) and depression (feeling low) throughout their lives. 

Some people with bipolar disorder will have lengthy periods of depression with symptoms similar to other forms of depression. What distinguishes bipolar disorder from depression is that it usually involves both highs (manic episodes) and lows (depressive episodes). Many are free of symptoms between episodes.

What causes bipolar disorder?

No one knows the exact cause of bipolar. Some evidence suggests that it genetic & runs in families. There are also theories that suggest social factors play a part in bringing on the symptoms, such as stressful life events, trauma or physical injuries.

What are the symptoms?

1. Periods of manic behaviour
  • A continuous elevated or euphoric mood
  • Irritable and aggressive
  • Hyperactive
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Little need for sleep
  • Talkativeness
  • Increased sex drive
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Risk-taking
  • Reckless
2. Periods of depressive behaviour
  • Persistent sadness
  • Negative moods
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Insomnia/oversleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Self-harm and thoughts of suicide
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating

3. A mix of both mania and depressive symptoms

4. Psychosis (losing touch with reality) may be present during serious episodes. This can include delusions and hallucinations. 

What are the different types of bipolar?

Bipolar I
  • Experiencing at least one episode of mania which has lasted for longer than a week.
  • Some people only have manic episodes, although most people with Bipolar I also have depressive episodes

Bipolar II

  • More than one episode of severe depression
  • Symptoms of hypomania (mild manic episodes)


  • Experiencing both hypomanic and depressive mood states over the course of two years or more
  • Symptoms aren’t severe enough to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of bipolar I or bipolar II but can be longer and develop into full bipolar disorder and can have a serious impact on your life.


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