Bipolar disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression) is a medical illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels. It can cause your mood to swing from very high (mania) to very low (depression). Bipolar disorder usually first develops in late teens or early adulthood.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Symptoms of mania (very high mood)

  • Having lots of energy
  • Feeling very happy or positive even if things are not going well for you
  • Feeling uncontrollably excited
  • Being extremely talkative
  • Spending money uncontrollably
  • Taking lots of risk
  • Being more irritable than usual
  • Being argumentative, pushy or aggressive

Symptoms of depression (very low mood)

  • Feeling very sad
  • Losing hope and confidence
  • Moving slower and getting agitated easily
  • Having little energy and feeling less able to do things
  • Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
  • Losing weight
  • Having no interest in sex
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep
  • Sleeping and eating less than usual
  • Thinking about self-harm, death, suicide or suicide attempts

Types of supports for bipolar disorder

Most people with bipolar disorder may need some sort of lifelong treatment. 

The treatment for bipolar disorder can include a combination of:

  • social supports like family support or group support,
  • psychotherapy, and
  • medication.

Your doctor will be able to help you find the best treatment for you. Go to our recovery page to learn more.