What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterised by extreme swings in mood, causing either a high ‘manic’ state or a low ‘depressive’ state, as well as what are known as ‘mixed states’, where a person can simultaneously have both. If someone is Bipolar 2- they will have less extreme mood swings, those who are Bipolar 1 may have these but can we kept well on medication.

Bipolar is said to be largely genetic, running in families and caused by either too much or too little seretonin in the brain and potentially a change in brain chemistry.

Luckily, the illness can be medicated- and sufferers can live normal and healthy lives between episodes, which vary from person to person. Most sufferers take mood stabilising medication to even out their moods and anti depressants at different times. The most famous medication for the disorder is Lithium.

Low moods can be coupled with anxiety disorders as well as other mental health conditions. Many sufferers have families, go to university and work- but each person is an individual and we still don’t know a huge amount about the illness in terms of biology.

For more information about bipolar, feel free to ask away or visit the Mind or Time to Change websites.

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