BIPOLAR disorder is a severe mental health illness characterised by extreme mood swings of manic highs and depressive lows.
Here we take a look at everything you need to know about the condition.
What is bipolar personality disorder?
Bipolar is a medical condition that can affect your mood, and typically can make them swing from one extreme emotion to another.
It is categorised by episodes of extreme highs, mania, or extreme lows, depression.
If mood swings last a long time, but aren’t severe enough to be classed as bipolar disorder, some people are diagnosed with having cyclothymia (a mild form of bipolar disorder).
It is thought around 29 million people worldwide suffer from bipolar disorder.
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There is an annual day celebrated on March 30 to raise awareness of the condition (World Bipolar Day).
There are different types of the condition, bipolar I and bipolar II.
The main difference between the two is the severity of the manic episodes caused by each one.
Sufferers of bipolar I will experience a full manic episode, while those with bipolar II will experience a hypomanic episode.
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A hypomanic episode is characterised as less severe than a manic episode, and sufferers of a hypomanic episode won't usually require hospitalisation – whereas this can be the case for a manic episode.
Meanwhile, a person with bipolar I may not experience a major depressive episode, while someone with bipolar II will.
Is bipolar a personality disorder?
Bipolar is a type of mental or mood disorder.
However bipolar personality disorder (BPD) and bipolar disorder are different conditions.
People who have BPD have a personality disorder, whereas those with bipolar are classed as having a mood disorder.
Experts say that BPD in some instances can be harder to treat
What is the bipolar personality test?
If your GP thinks you have the illness, then they will usually refer you to a psychiatrist.
You'll be asked some questions to determine if you have the illness and if you do, you'll discuss what treatments are most suitable.
In most cases, you'll be asked about your symptoms and when you first started to experience them.
Medics will also want to know about your family history and if any relatives have suffered with mental health issues and disorders.
There are treatments available that aim to help handle episodes and reduce their effect on the individual’s life.
With treatment, episodes can improve within three months.
For prescribed medication see the NHS website.
What are the symptoms of bipolar?
The symptoms can vary depending on what mood the sufferer is currently going through.
Each episode, either of mania or depression, can last for a few weeks or months.
Symptoms during the depression period include:
- Lacking energy
- Feeling sad or irritable most of the time
- Loss of interest in everyday activities
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Suicidal thoughts
Symptoms during the mania period include:
- Experiencing high levels of energy
- Not wanting to sleep
- Getting easily distracted
- Feeling extremely happy or elated
- Having delusional thoughts
- Making impulsive decisions such as spending large sums of money
- Saying things that are out of character
- Feeling self-important
What is it like to live with bipolar disorder?
American actress Ricki Lake posted an emotional announcement in February 2017 that her ex-husband Christian Evans had died citing his “struggle with bipolar disorder”.
Bipolar is a condition of extremes, and sometimes the sufferer may not realise they are in the manic phase and can be shocked at their behaviour afterwards.
During their manic phase they may get irritable at other people trying to help, believing them to be negative.
The frequency of episodes can vary depending on the sufferer, with some getting jobs or having functional relationships.
There is also an increased chance of suicide.
Some people are able to manage bipolar well through their medication.
Kerry Katona recently explained that she's been well enough to come off her medication.
Over the years numerous celebrities have come forward and admitted they suffer from the condition.
Billionaire Elon Musk is one of the many famous faces opening up about the condition.
The entrepreneur revealed on Twitter that he experiences “great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress”.
And when asked if he suffers from bipolar, he said “yes” although clarified he has not been medically diagnosed.
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