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If you would like to discuss how counselling might help you please contact Andrew

www.andrewcornick.co.uk

Tel:      01793 710252

Mobile: 07732 570346

Please email me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder - previously known as manic depression - is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. If you have bipolar disorder you will have periods or 'episodes' of depression and mania.

Depression and mania

The depression and mania that are associated with bipolar disorder are characterised as follows:

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depression: where you feel very low, and

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mania: where you feel very high; slightly less severe mania is known as hypomania.

Both extremes of bipolar disorder have a number of other associated symptoms. Unlike simple mood swings, each extreme episode of bipolar disorder can last for several weeks or longer. The high and low phases of the illness are often so extreme that they interfere with everyday life.

The depression phase of bipolar disorder often comes first. Initially, you may be diagnosed with clinical depression before having a manic episode some time later (sometimes years later), after which your diagnosis might change. During an episode of depression, you may have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, which often lead to thoughts of suicide.

During a manic phase of bipolar disorder, you may feel very happy and have lots of ambitious plans and ideas. You may spend large amounts of money on things that you cannot afford. Not feeling like eating or sleeping, talking quickly and becoming annoyed easily are also common characteristics of the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

During the manic phase, you may feel very creative and view mania as a positive experience. However, during the manic phase of bipolar disorder, you may also have symptoms of psychosis (where you see or hear things that are not there).

How common is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a relatively common condition with around one person in 100 being diagnosed with the condition.

Bipolar disorder can occur at any age, although it often develops in people who are between 18-24 years of age. Both men and women, and people from all backgrounds, can develop bipolar disorder.

The pattern of mood swings in bipolar disorder varies widely between individuals. For example, some people will only have a couple of bipolar episodes in their lifetime, and will be stable in between, while others may experience many episodes.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder 

Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood swings. The mood swings can range from extreme happiness (mania) to extreme sadness (depression). Episodes of mania and depression can often last for several weeks or more.

Depression

During a period of depression (low phase) your symptoms may include:

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feeling sad and hopeless

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lacking in energy

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difficulty concentrating and remembering things

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a loss of interest in everyday activities

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feelings of emptiness or worthlessness

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feelings of guilt and despair

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feeling pessimistic about everything

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self-doubt

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being delusional, having hallucinations and disturbed or illogical thinking

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lack of appetite

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difficulty sleeping

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waking up early

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suicidal thoughts

Mania

The manic (high) phase of bipolar disorder usually follows two to four episodes of depression and may include:

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feeling very happy, elated or euphoric (overjoyed)

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talking very quickly

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feeling full of energy

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feeling full of self-importance

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feeling full of great new ideas and having important plans

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being easily distracted

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being easily irritated or agitated

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being delusional, having  hallucinations and disturbed or illogical thinking

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not feeling like sleeping

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not eating

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doing pleasurable things that often have disastrous consequences, such as spending large sums of money on expensive and sometimes unaffordable items.

Rapid cycling

If you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more regularly than you have episodes of mania (or vice versa).

Episodes of depression and mania are sometimes punctuated by periods or ‘normal’ mood. However, some people with bipolar disorder can swing from a high to low phase quickly without having a ‘normal’ period in between. This is known as rapid cycling.

Bipolar disorder is a condition of extremes

A person with bipolar disorder may be totally unaware of being in the manic phase of the condition. After the episode is over, they may be shocked at their behaviour. However, at the time, they may think that others are being negative or unhelpful.

Some people with bipolar disorder experience more frequent and severe episodes than others. Due to the extreme nature of the condition continuing in a job may be difficult and relationships may become strained. There is also an increased risk of suicide.

During episodes of mania and depression, someone with bipolar disorder may experience strange sensations, such as seeing, hearing or smelling things that are not there (hallucinations). They may also believe things that seem irrational to other people (delusions). These types of symptoms are known as psychosis or a psychotic episode.

If you would like to discuss any of the mental health issues raised on this page or find out how counselling might help please contact me

Websites

MDF - The Bipolar Organisation

MDF The Bipolar Organisation is the national charity dedicated to supporting individuals with the much misunderstood and devasting condition of bipolar, their families and carers.  We work to enable people affected by bipolar (also known as manic depression) to take control of their lives.

http://www.mdf.org.uk/

 

MIND

Mind helps people take control of their mental health. We do this by providing high-quality information and advice, and campaigning to promote and protect good mental health for everyone. How can we help you

http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/bipolar_disorder_manic_depression

 

Bipolar For All

This site, together with the Bipolar4all forum, aims to provide factual information on bipolar affective disorder, treatments available, information and support for anyone affected by bipolar disorder.

http://www.bipolar4all.co.uk/

 

Bipolar Aware

This a site was put together by a person with first hand  experience of  Bipolar Disorder. In this site there is factual information about the illness and a patient forum.

http://www.bipolaraware.co.uk/index.html

 

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Leaflets

In this section you will find a selection of leaflets you can download or print.

Leaflet from Royal College of Psychiatrists

Self help leaflet from SANE

Local Resources in Swindon

Swindon Samaritans

Swindon and District Samaritans has been offering emotional support to those in crisis for more than 40 years. You can call or email 24hrs a day.

http://www.samaritans.org/swindon/

 

Swindon MIND

Local branch of the national charity providing support, resources and drop-in sessions.

http://www.swindonmind.org/

 

 

This information was put together by Swindon Counsellor and Psychotherapist Andrew Cornick. If you would like to find out how counselling might help you please contact me at any time.

www.andrewcornick.co.uk

Tel:      01793 710252

Mobile: 07732 570346

Please email me

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