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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, otherwise known as 'manic-depressive illness, is a mental condition that causes patients to have unusual mood swings, fluctuations in energy levels and ability to function. Unlike normal shifts in mood, bipolar disorder results in mood swings so severe that it impairs the person's thoughts and judgement. As a result, they encounter poor work performance, relationship issues and even tendencies to self-harm.

Stages of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic and erratic changes in mood, from high to low phases that do not follow a set pattern. There are 3 primary stages or episodes when suffering from bipolar disorder. 

Manic Episode ("The High")

Having a manic episode is described to be exciting and fun, but may also feel distressing, disorienting and unpleasant. This phase is often completely opposite of their usual state and severe to the extent of interfering with the person's social and working life, even requiring hospitalisation to prevent harm to themselves and others. Common symptoms include:

  • Feel very “up,” “high,” or elatedness

  • Have a lot of energy

  • Have increased activity levels

  • Feel “jumpy” or “wired”

  • Not feeling like sleeping

  • Become more active than usual

  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things

  • Be agitated, irritable, or “touchy”

  • Easily distracted

  • Feel like their thoughts are going very fast

  • Think they can do a lot of things at once

  • Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex

  • Making decisions or saying things that are out of character and that others see as being risky or harmful

Hypomania Episode (Milder "Highs")

The symptoms of hypomania are largely similar to the mania phase, but hypomania episodes are bound to:

  • Feel more "manageable"

  • Last for a shorter time

  • Exclude any psychotic symptoms

Though shorter, hypomania episodes still display noticeably different behaviour and may still be tough to deal with.

Major Depressive Episode ("The Low")

Most individuals with bipolar disorder spend more time in a depressed state, lasting at least two weeks and can feel harder to deal with than mania or hypomania. Common symptoms of the depressive stage include:

  • feeling sad, hopeless or irritable most of the time

  • lacking energy

  • difficulty concentrating and remembering things

  • loss of interest in everyday activities

  • feelings of emptiness or worthlessness

  • feelings of guilt and despair

  • feeling pessimistic about everything

  • self-doubt

  • being delusional, having hallucinations and disturbed or illogical thinking

  • lack of appetite

  • difficulty sleeping

  • waking up early

  • suicidal thoughts


Treatment Methods

Most patients will require a combination of medications to battle the condition. Altogether, the pills aim to alleviate depression, combat mania symptoms and prevent mood swings. Good treatment programmes ensure that the correct dosage of medicine is given and allocate sufficient time to educate family, friends and the patient on techniques in self-management, building up a strong social support network for them.


With good programmes, the patient's mood can be stabilised and continuous treatments will prevent the relapse of bipolar disorder.


Feel free to reach out to experts like The Wave Clinic to learn more about bipolar disorder and get personalised treatment. 

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