top of page


Bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression) is a mental health disorder that affects peoples moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. What causes bipolar disorder is unknown, but experts believe there could be a number of combined factors which make a person more susceptible to develop the condition.


There is evidence that suggests symptoms of bipolar disorder could be caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals responsible for controlling the brains functions.


Bipolar disorder could also be linked to genetics, where family members of a person with the condition have an increased risk in developing it themselves. However, no single gene is responsible for bipolar disorder. Instead, a number of genetic and environmental factors are thought to act as triggers.


Signs and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

During a period of depression, symptoms may include: 

  • Feeling sad and hopeless

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Social withdrawal or loss of interest and activities

  • Feelings of guilt and despair

  • Difficulties sleeping 

  • Suicidal Thoughts

The manic phase of bipolar disorder may include: 

  • Feeling very happy and elated

  • Talking quickly and full of energy

  • Easily agitated or irritated

  • Doing things with disastrous consequences

  • Saying things out of character

  • Delusions and hallucinations

Treatments available for Bipolar Disorder

Unfortunately, there is no cure for bipolar disorder, but the symptoms can be treated. Bipolar is normally treated with a combination of treatment methods and learning how to control the triggers of a manic of depressive episode. 

  • Medication known as 'mood stabilisers' can prevent episodes of mania, hypomania and depression. There are also other medication to treat the main symptoms of depressions or mania when they occur. 

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy, better known as CBT is a talking therapy that helps people manage their thoughts, perceptions, behaviours and coping techniques. 

  • Family therapy is a talking therapy which focuses on family relationships and encourages everyone to work together within the gamily to improve their understanding of the condition. 

  • Psychoeducation involves teaching people specific skills to learn how to recognise early warning signs of an episode and to learn more about the condition in general. 

Aiding another with Bipolar Disorder

  • If someone is experiencing a depressive or manic episode, stay calm and move to a safer, quieter setting if it is necessary.

  • The person may say or do things that could be hurtful or embarrassing and these actions should not be taken personally.

  • Do not tell them they are wrong or that they are making it up - at this moment in time they truly believe what they are saying is real. 

  • Communicate with them clearly, ask simple questions and listen non-judgementally. 

  • If they are experiencing severe symptoms during the episode, they may have a Crisis Plan which you can refer to, or a preferred contact number to call. 

  • If you believe the safety of the person or others is in critical danger, call the emergency services.


1.3 million people in the UK have bipolar. That is one in fifty people.

The World Health Organisation identifies bipolar as one of the top causes of lost years of life and health in 15 to 44 year olds.

bottom of page