Bipolar disorder is also sometimes known as’manic depression’. One of the main features of bipolar disorder is extreme changes in mood – much more than is usual. People go through periods of feeling incredibly “high”, happy (or manic), and very “low” or depressed. These periods can go on for weeks, or even months.
In the high periods, people can get overactive and excited, and they may not sleep very much. They may not think clearly, and they can feel very powerful and take a lot of risks. In the low periods, people can get very miserable, have no pleasure in life, withdraw from other people, and have physical symptoms like changes in sleeping patterns, and changes in eating patterns. People feel bleak and helpless and sometimes they want to harm themselves.
About one in a hundred people will develop bipolar disorder. There’s a range of help available in local communities to help people deal with problems like this, and with the right help and support, people are able to manage bipolar disorder and learn ways to get on with their lives.