Bipolar Affective Disorder

Do you experience highs and lows? Up and down moods?

Perhaps you experience fluctuations in your mood, and you may think you are ‘Bipolar’. Yet there are lots of misconceptions out there, so let’s be clear what ‘Bipolar’ actually means.

Bipolar is much more than just everyday mood swings, or up and down moods. The full name is Bipolar Affective Disorder (previously known as ‘Manic Depression’) and it typically describes people who experience periods of time (or episodes) of Mania (sometimes referred to as ‘elevated mood’), and also periods of Depression.

Mania is more than just feeling good or feeling happy. It includes experiences such as racing thoughts, extreme irritability, and impulsive behaviour such as risk taking or excessive spending.

Depression is more than just sadness, or ‘having a bad day’, it is when people experience low moods, most days, for at least a two week period. It also includes sleep and appetite changes, not enjoying activities, memory and concentration difficulties, lack of energy, and sometimes thoughts about suicide.

Some people experience longer periods of Mania, yet it is more common to experience longer periods of Depression. Either way, these mood difficulties are usually significant enough that family members and friends become very concerned.

You can learn valuable skills to keep your mood more balanced, if you have times where you feel like your mood is out of control, or you experience up and down moods. If you are not sure whether you have Bipolar, come along and discuss your mood.

You will need to see a trained Clinical Psychologist (or Psychiatrist) to help determine whether or not you have Bipolar. Don’t hesitate, continuing to experience up and down moods can have a great impact on your life, and the people around you.

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