The highs and lows of bipolar disorder

Mental health still carries a level of stigma and misunderstanding. No more so than bipolar disorder.

Today (30 March) the world is coming together to raise vital awareness for one of the most common mental health conditions: bipolar disorder. Affecting mainly a person’s mood with manic episodes or depressive episodes – commonly known as highs and lows – it is a condition that can make our very own emotions distressing.

We all go through periods of happiness and then feeling low. However, life with bipolar disorder can be debilitating and affect relationships, careers, and daily life. When someone is experiencing a high an individual can feel full of energy and ideas, being extremely proactive before going into a low episode.

During a depressive episode people can feel down, upset or tearful and in some circumstances, suicidal.

World Bipolar Day is a gathering to provide further knowledge and understanding on the condition, which can cause psychotic symptoms. Many successful people live with the condition, including Stephen Fry and actor Adam Deacon who have commented publicly about life with bipolar, but there is still a lot of work that needs done.

The worrying aspect of bipolar disorder can come from psychotic episodes. Feelings of paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, or in some cases hearing voices, can be very traumatic for an individual. In this instance, there is still a stigma attached to the condition as many people may not realise the physical affect mental illness can have.

It is estimated that one in 100 UK adults, according to NHS, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Mind, will be diagnosed with bipolar disorder – meaning it is more common than many may think. On World Bipolar Day embracing more information on the condition is vital.

There is no known cause of bipolar disorder, some experts believe it may be a result of extreme emotional distress as a child or genetic and chemical factors. Thankfully there are many organisations on hand to support and guide people diagnosed with bipolar, their friends and family.

For urgent support call Samaritans on 116 123, or get more information from Mind here.

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