Bipolar Disorder was previously known as manic depression and is a mental health disorder characterised by periods of depression which alternate with periods of abnormally elevated mood.
If the elevated mood is very pronounced it is classified as mania but if it is less severe, it is then known as hypomania.
When a person experiences the manic phase they are often highly energetic, irritable or unusually happy and are prone to making impulsive decisions without due consideration of the possible consequences.
If the mood switches to feelings of depression sufferers often develop a very negative outlook about life, find socalising difficult and amy spend a lot of time in tears.
Because bipolar disorders have such a pronounced impact on the mood of the sufferer there may be a tendency to develop substance abuse problems as a way of coping with the mood swings.
Whilst the biological causes of Bipolar Disorder are yet to be discovered there is some suggestion that genetics may play a role.
Long term exposure to environmental stressors and incidents of childhood abuse are both striongly correlated with this disorder.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
The main symptoms and signs associated with bipolar disorder tend to appear between late adolescence and early adulthood.
- Intermittment periods of mania and depression (symptoms are usually absent in between these phases)
- Mood disruptions
- Bouts of hyperactivity and inactivity
- Delusions or hallucinations (generally only in Mania not Hypnomania)
- Large shifts in the sense of self-esteem
- Reduced social inhibition
As is the case with many of the mental health disorders, the symptoms associated with BPD also occur in non-disordered individuals and so could be tought of as normal.
It is the intensity, severity and frequency of the symptoms that defines someone with bipolar disorder rather then the behaviours themselves.
Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
Technically, only a psychiatrist can diagnose bipolar disorder, but in the UK general practitioners have tended to diagnose mental health problems by using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The DSM lists specific symptoms against a range of disorders and whenever a person meets this criteria, they are said to be suffering from that disorder.
Diagnostic procedures for mental health disorders do NOT make use of medical testing (for example blood tests) in order to produce a diagnosis, but rather is an opinion based on the observation of certain behaviours in the person who is suffering.
Because of this lack of verifiable medical testing, diagnosis remains a controversial subject, particularly within the psychological community.
However, in the UK access to support services is often contingent on receiving a diagnosis, so in this sense, a formal diagnosis may be useful.
Getting a Mental Health Diagnosis
Please be aware that Lee Psychology do not diagnose mental health disorders.
Our psychological counselling services do not require you to have been formally diagnosed but should you wish to obtain a formal mental health diagnosis, then please contact your GP who can arrange it for you.
Therapy & Counselling for Bipolar Disorder
We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Bipolar Disorder and related problems.
Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:
- How long you have had the problem.
- Your personal preferences.
- How your problem is affecting you today.
You can read more about the different types of therapy for BPD on the following links:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
- The CORE programme for Bipolar Disorder
- Counselling for Bipolar Disorder
Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.
Research suggests that this therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.
Psychiatry Through the Looking Glass
Read what the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) and the United Nations (U.N.) said recently about the biomedical models of mental illness on Psychology Today.
Common Mental Disorders
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Depersonalisation Disorder
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Prolonged Grief Disorder
- Separation Anxiety Disorder