Bipolar mood

Bipolar mood disorder is characterised by unusual or extreme shifts in mood, energy, concentration, activity levels, and a person's ability to manage ordinary daily tasks.

More about bipolar mood disorder

Bipolar mood disorder (BMD) is a mental illness that involves mood changes that swing between overly “high” and irritable (these are known as manic symptoms or mania), to severely sad and hopeless (these are known as depressive symptoms).

If a person has BMD, their mood jumps between these two extremes, and these swings are accompanied by changes in thoughts and behaviours. There are also periods of ‘normal’, stable mood between these instense swings.

BMD is similar to other lifelong illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes, in that it cannot be cured. It can however, be managed with the right treatment. With proper management, most patients can enjoy productive lives.

What to keep in mind

Around 85% of people who have an initial episode of BMD will have another, which makes maintenance treatment essential. There are two types of bipolar mood disorder – Bipolar I and Bipolar II.

Recognising symptoms

Signs and symptoms of
bipolar mood disorder

The symptoms of bipolar mood disorder are split into those relating to mania and those relating to depression.


  • Increased physical and mental activity and energy

  • Worrying for a large portion of the day

  • Heightened mood, feelings of extreme optimism and self-confidence

  • Racing speech and thoughts

  • Being easily and regularly distracted

  • In the most severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

  • Excessive irritability and aggressive behaviour

  • Restlessness and feeling on edge

  • Decreased need for sleep without experiencing tiredness

  • Impulsiveness and poor judgment

  • Reckless behaviour


  • Long lasting feelings of sadness

  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns

  • Pessimism, indifference, and feelings of apathy

  • Inability to concentrate, and an inability to make decisions

  • Unexplained physical aches and pains

  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness

  • Social withdrawal

  • Irritability, anger, or agitation

  • Loss of energy, or feeling constantly tired

  • Lack of pleasure in things you normally enjoy

  • In the most severe cases, delusions, and hallucinations

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Take a self-assessment

Our self-assessments can help you better understand and reflect on what you're experiencing, and find the assistance you may need.

Complete self-assessment

Treatment programme for bipolar mood disorder

The good news is that bipolar mood disorder can be treated with a combination of mood stabilising medication and psychotherapy.

Netcare Akeso’s general psychiatry programme is designed to help individuals with bipolar mood disorder and to give their loved ones the tools to cope with the ups and downs that characterise this disorder.

We provide patients with an integrated treatment programme designed to help stabilise mood swings and equip them and their loved ones with the necessary skills to manage their lives going forward.

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Get in touch

As part of our commitment to providing the best and safest care to all of our patients, we listen. If you have anything you'd like to ask us, or need assistance accessing our services, please get in touch.

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