This is the 24th in a series of blogs, using answers I provided to pass Mental Health qualifications.  This blog is the start of describing different types of depression, this being the second, about bipolar disorder

As with many mental health subjects, they can all be massive topics with reams of books written on them.  I will aim to break bipolar disorder down into 3 easy to read blogs, describing possible causes; how Bipolar Disorder can affect individuals and the people around them; and how it can be treated and managed. 

I strongly believe there is no one-size-fits all approach to managing any kind of mental health condition. It is the main reason why I am not a massive advocate of medication.  I prefer to consider natural, healthy ways to recognise and manage any kind of mental ill health, tailoring each treatment and therapy to suit each individual. I do this from experience.  It is what helped me which is why I believe it can help others too.

The meaning of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is also referred to as manic depression.

Bipolar can occur at any age although usually presents itself between ages of 18 and 24, effects males and females equally with about 1% of the population diagnosed with bipolar.

People with bipolar can have very varied changes in their moods with the extreme of intense hyperactivity for days followed by intense periods of deep depression,

The degrees of the manic episodes can vary from person to person.

The causes of bipolar disorder:

The exact courses of bipolar disorder are not known, and like many other forms of mental ill-health, it is considered many factors can contribute to bipolar disorder.  There is no single cause of bipolar disorder. It is thought there are a combination of factors such as genetics, chemical imbalance in the brain and life events.

Some believe certain triggers are as a side effect of types of medications and can bring on bipolar.

Some believe life events, usually traumatic to the person, can be the trigger.

Some consider bipolar to be hereditary.

However, chemical imbalances in the brain are very much a contributing factor, although no hard evidence as to what causes the initial imbalances.

A mix of physical, emotional, and social factors, being experienced at the same time, could be a likely contributing factor.

Recognising symptoms of bipolar disorder:

Examples of symptoms that may occur in a manic and depressive episode:

Manic symptoms:
  • Heightened activity like working or cleaning for days with no sleep, unable to relax and do not feel tired.
  • Individuals may feel hypersensitivity when manic, struggling with lighting, noise and even the taste of highly flavoured foods. All can feel uncomfortable. Some cannot bear be to be touched.
  • Agitation and irritability.
  • Incessant talking.
  • Hypersexuality and promiscuity.
  • Risk-taking behaviour, almost as though everything must help them have a rush of adrenaline.
  • Frivolous spending with no thought of how to repay.
  • Heightened confidence and self-belief.
  • Extreme behaviours can put them, and others lives at risk. Irrational and extreme behaviours could lead to financial problems too.
Depressive symptoms
  • After a manic episode, the bipolar individual can ‘crash’ sleeping for very long periods of a time.
  • May wanting to self-medicate.
  • Just wanting to wrap themselves up in a blanket and hide in the dark. Isolation.
  • Extreme feelings of deep sadness, guilt, worthlessness.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

The next blog will continue with how Bipolar Disorder affects people.

Tracey of PlumEssence Therapies and Training is a qualified stress management consultant, mental health first aider, clinical hypnotherapist and body work therapist focusing on helping reduce and alleviate concerns connected to both physical and emotional wellbeing.  Tracey is also a teacher and trainer, delivering workshops and accredited mental health courses.

Tracey is available for a no-obligation chat to see how we could work together on 01889 808388 or