Education is a key component in fighting stigma and living a healthier life.
When you think of bipolar disorder you might think of scary and unpredictable mood swings – but people are only scared of what they don’t understand.
Hence why (especially since it’s Mental Health Awareness Week) we’re going to give you the low-down on bipolar disorder – the causes, symptoms, treatments PLUS interesting facts that may surprise you. Here are 14 things you need to know.
1. It’s more complicated than you think
Yes, people with bipolar fluctuate between depressive and manic states – the depressive state is where you feel very low, and the manic state is where you feel elated, excited and full of energy.
But it’s not as simple as that. Bipolar can be diagnosed as bipolar I or bipolar II (bipolar II is more extreme), cyclothymia (more mania and less severe depression), rapid cycling (4 or more episodes within 12 months) or ‘mixed’ state (where mania and depression happens simultaneously).
2. It’s not over quickly
The difference between having bipolar and having mood swings is that a) bipolar moods are more extreme and b) they last longer.
People with bipolar can be in a state of depression or mania for weeks at a time, maybe even more.
3. Manic phases can be similar to psychosis
These manic phases are not just high energy, happy times.
Although people may feel manic phases are positive in that they feel very ambitious and creative, they often don’t feel like sleeping or eating and can be prone to hallucinations and delusions, which are symptoms of psychosis.
4. It may not be obvious at first
The way people are often diagnosed with bipolar is that they get diagnosed with depression as the manic state can sometimes only develop years afterwards.