What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder (also known as ‘manic depression’) is a condition in which the person experiences significant changes in energy, mood, thinking and behaviour lasting from days to months. Bipolar involves shifts from the extreme low of depression to the extreme high of mania. Mood changes are extremely intense and result in considerable impairment in daily functioning. For example, in a depressive episode a person is likely to experience disabling lethargy, be highly self-critical and feel hopeless.
In contrast, the same person, in a manic episode, may feel completely energised on little sleep, feel extremely confident and make reckless decisions such as overspending or quitting a job.
The Mental Health Company Psychologists can help a person diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder (BPAD), alongside access to on-going medical support. It is recommended that a person with BPAD also attend a medical professional because mood stabilising medication can be very helpful for the management of the condition. BPAD is a long-term condition and medical treatment should be continued even when symptom-free. Research has indicated that the most effective treatment strategy for BPAD involves a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes and social support.
How We Can Help
From a psychological perspective, one of the key goals of attending a Psychologist is to help you to become more effective in managing your own mood in order to prevent recurrent episodes of mania or depression. Monitoring the early warning signs of mood changes is very important as this gives you more opportunity to make changes in your routine to adjust your mood accordingly. Avoidance of high-stress situations and adjusting lifestyle is also a key goal of treatment for Bipolar Affective disorder. It may also be helpful for the individual to speak about their experiences of the condition more generally in a supportive and non-judgemental space.
In an acute episode of severe depression or mania, medical advice or hospitalisation may be appropriate.
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