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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar can make your mood change dramatically, from feeling very depressed to being overactive

You might feel people don’t see the real you. People might notice in a difference in you that is actually severe and affecting all aspects of life. Each mood can last a short term, or for weeks and months.

Bipolar can make your mood change dramatically, from feeling very depressed to being overactive. You might have symptoms of depression or you might have further symptoms of being overactive, the latter of which includes feeling energetic or restless, irritability, talking quickly, making impulsive decisions, being sexually promiscuous, or being argumentative or aggressive. This can be more than just ordinary mood swings; it can cause extreme, often distressing, changes in mood.

Bipolar disorder might occur because of genetics or environmental factors, but there isn’t a clear cause.

Different types of bipolar disorder

Bipolar I

This type involves manic episodes that last at least seven days or are severe enough to require immediate hospitalisation. Depressive episodes may also occur, but not always.

Bipolar II

This type of disorder involves experiencing depressive episodes at least once and hypomania –  a milder form of mania that doesn’t lead to hospitalisation for at lest four days.


 This type involves chronic fluctuations between hypomanic and depressive symptoms for a period of at least two years in adults and one year in children and youth.

Rapid cycling bipolar

 When a person experiences four or more mood episodes (either depressive, manic, or hypomanic) within a year. There might be stable periods in between. These episodes can last from days to months.

Mixed states bipolar

This is when you experience depression, mania, or hypomania simultaneously or quickly after each other. This type is sometimes called mixed affective bipolar.

Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

This category includes cases where symptoms don’t precisely fit the criteria for Bipolar I, II, or Cyclothymic Disorder but still display significant mood swings.

Diagnosis and help

People aged between 16 and 24 years old are more likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder but it can affect anyone at any age. It can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be similar to psychosis and depression, and it can take a long time to get a diagnosis.

You might have hypomania, which present milder symptoms and can be more management but still has a noticeable effect on your day-to-day life. It may last for a shorter period of time and still give you symptoms of psychosis and depression.

It can help to keep a record of your moods so that when you seek medical advice, you can understand your mood swings more and receive relevant and appropriate support.


Our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that most fits your needs, including our Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.

Contact 0808 8010 515, email us at or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.

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