World Bipolar Day takes place on March 30 and it aims to raise awareness of the disorder and to help fight the stigma associated with the condition.
As part of this effort, doctors at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are educating local residents on the symptoms of bipolar disorder and what treatments are available. Bipolar disorder affects your mood swings, people who have the condition suffer from periods of depression, where they feel very low, or periods of mania, where they feel very high and overactive.
Around 50% of bipolar patients have issues with substance abuse, which may be contributing to mood swings and lack of sleep. This is why people are encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle, in order get the best treatment outcomes.
When people experience an episode of depression, they suffer from feelings of worthlessness, which can potentially lead to suicide. If you are suffering from extreme depressive symptoms, help is always available. Contact your local GP, care co-ordinator or local mental health emergency services as soon as possible.
To talk to someone confidentially, free of charge, call the Samaritans on 116 123. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also visit the Samaritans website or email email@example.com.
During a mania episode, people feel very happy and have lots of energy. You may spend lots of money on things you may not need or cannot afford. Other symptoms include: not feeling like sleeping or eating, talking quickly, and becoming annoyed easily.
Treatments available to help support bipolar disorder:
- Medication (long-term): to prevent episodes of depression or mania, they are taken every day
- Medication (short-term): to treat symptoms of depression or mania when they occur
- Talking therapy- can help you deal with depression
- Lifestyle choices: regular exercise, improving your diet, getting more sleep
Dr Rakesh Sharma clinical lead at the CCGs said: “Bipolar disorder is a fairly common condition, it can occur at any age and it can affect men and women from all backgrounds.
“Those who are affected by bipolar suffer extreme mood swings, they experience highs and lows. To prevent symptoms of mania and depression occurring, there is medication available to stabilise the mood swings, as well as the Samaritans, who are free to call 24 hours a day.
“Not only this, I would strongly encourage people to visit their GP, to find out what treatment is best for them.”
There are number of things that can cause bipolar disorder including: extreme stress, life-changing events and genetic and chemical factors.
These are often called ‘triggers’, they can cause an episode of mania or depression, which is why people need to be cautious of them. During an episode of Mania, one has an intense sense of well-being, energy and optimism. It can be so strong that it affects your thinking and judgement. You may believe strange things about yourself, make bad decisions, and behave in embarrassing, harmful and – occasionally – dangerous ways.
Like depression, it can make it difficult or impossible to deal with day-to-day life. Mania can badly affect both your relationships and your work. When it isn’t so extreme, it is called ‘hypomania’.
For more information on the symptoms and treatments of bipolar disorder visit NHS Choices.
Support groups and caring organisations
Support line: 0333 323 3880
Provides support, advice and information for people with bipolar disorder, their friends and carers.
Tel: 0845 123 23 20; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Information, support and understanding for people who suffer with depression, and for relatives who want to help. Self-help groups, information, and raising awareness for depression.
Journeys – towards recovery from depression
Tel: 029 2069 2891; email:email@example.com
Tel: 08457 90 90 90 (ROI 1850 60 90 90); email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Confidential, non-judgmental support 24 hours a day by telephone and email for anyone who is worried, upset, or suicidal.