Are you struggling with Bipolar Affective Disorder?

Episodes of mania and depression often last for several weeks or months. Treatment aims to reduce the severity and number of episodes of depression and mania to allow as normal a life as possible.

What is Bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

The risks during a low mood include an inability to function at work and in other areas of life. During mania, the person may be at risk of making reckless decisions.

In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, it’s common to experience feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria. You may also feel like you’re all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.

When to seek treatment

You should consider treatment for your Mania when:
You are feeling unusually “high” and optimistic or extremely irritable
You have unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about your abilities or powers
You are sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
You speak so rapidly that others can’t keep up
You experience racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
You are distractible and unable to concentrate
You have impaired judgment and impulsiveness
You have delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)
I wish I had not waited so long to ask for help, as it has made a real difference in my life.
Male, 29
My relationships with family and friends have improved. I understand my triggers and have techniques on how to cope with my issues.
Female, 36
I felt really listened to and the techniques helped me at work and in my daily life. I am feeling much more confident and able to balance my negative thoughts.
Female, 44
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What you need to know

According to NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), to minimise the effects of bipolar affective disorder and work towards having the best quality of life, you’re likely to need medication. However, psychological and psychosocial interventions have an important part to play in managing your disorder, as do lifestyle changes and social support.

CBT is particularly helpful if your condition is stable, and will help you:

Reduce the negative impact of bipolar manic depression
Identify and correct habitual thoughts which lead to harmful conclusions
Work on your skills of awareness, introspection and evaluation
Achieve improved coping and reality testing skills
Regulate your mood swings (where possible)
Reduce the impact of your bipolar illness on you, your loved ones and your work colleagues
Remain motivated to take medication
Identify triggers and help reduce your chance of a relapse
Symptoms of mania include:

Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic or extremely irritable
Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about your abilities or powers
Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
Having racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
Being highly distractible and unable to concentrate
Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)

Symptoms of depression include:

Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
Irritability
Inability to experience pleasure
Fatigue or loss of energy
Physical and mental sluggishness
Appetite or weight changes
Sleep problems
Concentration and memory problems
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Thoughts of death or suicide
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