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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

1 or 2
you might have Bipolar 1 disorder which means you will have had at least one episode of extreme highs last more than one week, or Bipolar 2 disorder which means you have periods of depression broken up with times of hypomania. Mania can last three to six months if left untreated and most people will experience depression between these times which can last six to 12 months.

Cyclothymic disorder
this is when you might experience regular episodes of hypomania and depression for at least two years. These symptoms are milder than bipolar disorder but cyclothymia can develop into bipolar.

Mixed state
having mania and depression at the same time is called ‘mixed bipolar state’, and you may feel sad or hopeless but extremely energised at the same time.

Rapid cycling
when you have four or more depressive, manic, mixed or hypomanic episodes in one year.

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.

How we can help

Our Information and Support Line signposts you to relevant support in your area that most fits your needs and how Change Mental Health supports people in local communities across Scotland with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Scotland has more resources on bipolar disorder.

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