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.
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.
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.
The symptoms of bipolar mood disorder are split into those relating to mania and those relating to depression.
MANIA (THE “HIGHS”)
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
DEPRESSION (THE “LOWS”)
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
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
Our self-assessments can help you better understand and reflect on what you're experiencing, and find the assistance you may need.
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.
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.