Bipolar Affective Disorder

Bipolar Affective Disorder

 

Bipolar Affective Disorder, also known as Manic Depression, is a mental condition that affects our mood.

 

Most of us have daily variations in mood that depend on what is going on around us. For example if you hear some good news you feel happy and consequently if you experience a hardship you feel sadness.

In Bipolar Affective Disorder the two extremes of elation and depression can last for weeks, often for no reason. Symptoms of elation include talking fast, staying awake all night, experiencing racing thoughts, spending large amounts of money in a short period and extreme happiness or agitation. In a manic episode, which can occur as a part of Bipolar Disorder, the symptoms can often last for 1-2 weeks or more.

Similarly, depressive episodes – characterised by feeling sad, having no energy, not enjoying anything, disturbed sleep, reduced appetite, reduced attention and concentration, feelings of guilt, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts – last for two weeks or more.

The treatment of Bipolar Affective Disorder consists of two stages. Initially, it is important to treat the acute manic or depressive phase with a combination of medications and psychotherapy. When stability of mood has been achieved, then the next stage is to prevent a further relapse. This again is through either use of medications or psychotherapy (talking therapy) or both. Management of this condition is primarily led by the Consultant Psychiatrist.

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