What is bipolar disorder?
While we all experience mood changes in response to life’s events, some people’s moods fluctuate up and down much more than usual. People with bipolar disorder can have extreme moods of feeling really high, very active and euphoric (‘manic’); or feeling really low (‘depression’). When these shifts in moods cause changes in how you’re behaving and how you are able to function in your everyday life, it’s important to get help.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition with strong changes in mood and energy. One in 50 (1.8%) adult Australians experience bipolar disorder each year.
People experiencing bipolar disorder can have:
low mood, feelings of hopelessness, extreme sadness and lack of interest and pleasure in things
Manic or Hypomanic episodes:
extremely high mood and activity or agitation, racing thoughts, little need for sleep and rapid speech.
These changes in mood can last a week or more, and affect our thoughts and behaviour.
Bipolar disorder needs long-term management, which may include medication and psychological therapies. Bipolar disorder affects how we are able to function in our everyday life. Untreated, it makes it hard to consistently cope at work, home, school or socially.
People experience bipolar disorder in different ways. The pattern of mood swings is different for each person with bipolar disorder.