Mood swings or bipolar disorder

Do you…

  • Have excessive changes in mood that can swing from extreme lows to great highs?
  • Ever lose touch with reality?

What is Bipolar disorder?

Bipolar Affective Disorder (BPAD), also known as manic depression is a condition that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to function. The person has episodes of mania or depression, which are different from normal ‘ups and downs’ in that they are more severe and can damage relationships and ability to work.

Symptoms of mania can include: euphoric mood, significant increased energy and restlessness, extreme irritability, rapid speech, jumping from one topic to another very rapidly, and unrealistic or grandiose ideas about ones abilities. For symptoms of depression, click here

Sometimes severe episodes of mania or depression include experiences of psychosis such as hallucinations and delusions.

Some people have described their experience as:

“You feel like you’re a genius, you feel you’re the only person in the world who can see it the right way.”

“The lows, the nothing. There’s nothing left in you. You’re beyond tears, you’re even beyond thought.”

How common is it?

It is said that the chance of someone developing the disorder is about 1 in 100 in a lifetime. Often sufferers have a family history of either depression or BPAD. Onset is usually in late teens or twenties, and affects men and women equally.

What can I do about it?

Please speak to your GP who will be able to refer you to the most appropriate services.

Sometimes people find that reading about their problem can help. Please see the links below for some further information.

How can I help myself?
Acknowledgement of references

Powell, T. (2009) The Mental Health Handbook: A Cognitive Behavioural Approach, 3rd Edition, Speechmark.

Mind. (2010) Understanding Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

The British Psychological Society. (2010) Understanding Bipolar Disorder