Finding useful and relevant bipolar information can be challenging, but as a person who suffers from the illness or as a relative or loved one, it is important to be able to understand the illness and its early warning signs.
With this information about bipolar and understanding the triggers and warning signs an action plan can be developed which in turn can help to reduce the length and severity of an episode of the illness.
Some Basic Bipolar Facts
Bipolar disorder, is also known as manic depression or manic depressive disorder. It is an ongoing illness affecting 2-3% of the population and involves extreme mood swings. There are two main classifications of bipolar- bipolar I and bipolar II.
Bipolar I- involves the extreme mood elevation known as ‘mania’ or manic behaviour.
Bipolar II- involves the lesser mood elevation which is known as ‘hypomania’ and also includes bouts of depression. Bipolar I may or may not include episodes of depression, but bipolar II always does.
The changes in mood experienced by people with bipolar disorder are unlike the day-to-day changes in mood experienced by those who do not suffer from the illness. The mood changes are much more extreme and can last from a few days to weeks. They are not specifically caused by an external event, such as getting a good exam result – however stresses such as lack of sleep can become triggers of an episode of illness.
The MoodSwings website contains helpful articles on all aspects of the illness, written by health professionals. It also provides an online self-help program with small bipolar disorder support groups as well as assistance and strategies to aid the long term management of bipolar disorder.