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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Today is World Bipolar Day...

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterised by swings in a person’s mood from high to low – euphoric to depressed.

In the high phase (mania or hypomania), someone with bipolar disorder may have huge amounts of energy and feel little need for sleep. They may think and talk faster than usual, and their thoughts may jump rapidly from one subject to another, making them easily distracted and conversation difficult.

They may also experience what are called ‘grandiose’ ideas or delusions about their abilities and powers, and a loss of judgement. People in a high phase can be increasingly goal directed, meaning they can get themselves into difficulties that they would normally avoid – they may leave their job, spend money they don’t have, engage in high-risk situations or give away possessions.

In a low (or depressive) phase, people have feelings of depression which can leave them feeling hopeless; despairing and lethargic; full of self-blame and self-doubt; and have difficulty concentrating. This can make it difficult to cope with everyday life. People may withdraw from friends and social contacts, and they may feel suicidal.

Symptoms of mania and hypomania include:

increased energy, activity and restlessness
extreme irritability
racing thoughts and talking very fast
little sleep needed
unrealistic beliefs about one’s abilities and powers
a lasting period of behaviour which is different from the usual
provocative, intrusive and aggressive behaviour
spending sprees.
Symptoms of depression and dysthyma include:
lasting sad, anxious or empty mood
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being slowed down
difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
restlessness or irritability
sleeping too much, or can’t sleep
change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.

Other symptoms can include:
hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of things that are not actually there and cannot be sensed by others)
delusions (false, strongly held beliefs not influenced by logical reasoning or explained by a person’s usual cultural concepts)
inability to communicate due to markedly speeded up, slowed down or distorted speech (thought disorder, flight of ideas, psychomotor slowing).

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