Bipolar disorder is a condition that drastically affects one's mood, causing them to swing from one extreme to another. People suffering from bipolar disorder will experience episodes of depression where they feel low and lethargic and episodes of mania where they feel high and overly active. Each mood can last for several weeks, and some people may rarely experience a 'normal' mood. Symptoms of depression can include sadness, uncontrollable crying, anxiety, lack of interest in activities, withdrawal from family and friends, excessive guilt, and suicidal thoughts and urges. Symptoms of mania can include increased energy, talkativeness, racing thoughts, little need for sleep, inflated self-esteem, and spending sprees. There are two types of bipolar disorder, Bipolar I and Bipolar II. The main difference between them is that Bipolar I has manic episodes while Bipolar II has hypomanic episodes. The main difference between mania and hypomania is the severity.
If you are living with bipolar disorder, medication is an essential part of your treatment plan. This is prescribed to help prevent episodes of mania, hypomania and depression, as well as to manage the symptoms of depression when they arise. To begin this process, it is important to visit a Consultant Psychiatrist for an assessment. Along with medication, therapy is also an integral part of managing bipolar disorder. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of treatment and can help you to learn how to cope with your symptoms and recognise the signs of a mood shift. Additionally, developing an ongoing relationship with a psychiatrist is important for monitoring your medication and ensuring it remains effective. If you are not taking medication to treat your disorder long-term and have experienced the early warning signs of an episode, it is important to seek support as soon as possible. During a manic episode, it is common to engage in dangerous behaviours. Therefore, it is important that you get the help you need quickly.