Trigger warning: biploar.
What is bipolar?
Bipolar disorderis a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of depression as well as periods of mania or hyperactivity. Of course, it is normal for all of us to experience “highs” and “lows” in our mood, but these usually pass reasonably quickly. For people with Bipolar disorder, these episodes can last long periods of time and lead to extreme behaviours.
It is estimated that 1 in 100 people will experience Bipolar disorder and although we don’t know the exact cause it can be brought on by periods of extreme stress or major life changes, notes Jemma Meeson, Systemic Psychotherapist & Founder of The Family Treatment Service, a new private mental health practice offering fast access to specialist, evidence-based therapies in the heart of Wimbledon Village.
How does it affect one’s behaviour?
During periods of depression, some people may experience feelings of hopelessness, lose interest in things they used to enjoy, notice a difference in their appetite or sleep patterns, and have thoughts of suicide.
During the manic phases, people often feel fantastic, full of creative ideas and bursting with energy. However, this passion and enthusiasm, combined with the feeling of being able to “do anything”, may result in people doing things they may not normally or spending money that they don’t have. There can also be a risk that sufferers stop eating or drinking properly, and find it hard to listen to others around them.
Many people consider this part of their bipolar disorder as helpful to them as it could be when they are at their most creative, and this can be the difficulty with medication as often both sides are dulled, leading people to miss the energy and enthusiasm that comes with manic episodes.
What is bipolar often misdiagnosed with?
Many people are diagnosed first with clinical depression and then experience periods of mania later, leading to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Sometimes when the manic episodes are missed by professionals or by those experiencing them people can be prescribed anti-depressants which can increase the risk of experiencing mania.