About bipolar disorder
We all experience changes in our moods from day to day. A celebration, good news or meeting someone special can make us feel on top of the world. Troubling news or unexpected setbacks can see our mood tumble into dejection.
If you or your loved one has bipolar disorder, mood swings from excited highs to black lows are much more extreme. The disorder was previously known as manic depression, reflecting the change in mood from extreme highs to depressed lows.
Around two per cent of Australians are affected by bipolar disorder during their lives.
Causes of bipolar disorder
Several factors can lead to the development of bipolar disorder:
- genetics – bipolar disorder is frequently inherited from a parent
- life events – stressful undertakings such as moving house or changing job, or traumatic events including death or abuse, can trigger bipolar disorder
- health – bipolar disorder is thought to be linked to abnormal levels of serotonin in the brain
- drug-taking – the development of bipolar disorder has been linked to illicit drug use
- pregnancy – bipolar disorder can develop in response to the challenges of being a new parent.
During a manic or extremely excited mood state you may experience the following symptoms:
- feeling irritable
- having increased energy or overactivity
- racing thoughts and rapid speech
- sleeping problems
- shopping sprees
- increased sex drive.
The symptoms experienced during a depressed mood state include:
- feeling unmotivated
- loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities
- feeling irritable and moody
- wanting to be alone
- loss of self-esteem
- inability to cope with everyday stress
- sleeping problems.