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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, which used to be called manic depression, involves extreme moods: you might have alternating periods of very high and very low mood, each lasting several weeks or months. These are called mania and depression.

When you are “high”, you might have a great deal of energy and feel very good. You might have lots of ideas and feel very powerful. You might talk a lot and very fast, and do things that you would not otherwise, like spending lots of money or taking risks. You might get frustrated or angry with others and even become aggressive. At the peak of your high mood, you might be confused and even start to believe things that are not true. While it can feel great to be high in this way, it can cause a lot of problems in your life, because you are acting in ways that you would not usually, and which may be unwise.

When you are down, you might feel very sad, lack energy, and struggle to engage in your usual activities. 

Bipolar disorder runs in families, because genes are a major cause of it. Treatment is usually with mood-stabilising medication such as lithium, but psychological therapy can also be very helpful. Therapy can help you to learn the signs that your mood is starting to become unusually high or low, and to take actions that will limit rather than fuel that process. With medication and therapy, bipolar disorder can often be managed well so that it does not disrupt your life.









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