Bipolar Disorder is a Mood Disorder, which is characterised by extreme changes in moods and behaviour. As the word “Bipolar” suggests, there are mainly two types of mood fluctuations: depressive mood and manic mood.
Everyone goes through shifts in their moods on a daily basis, but what distinguishes normal day to day mood changes from Bipolar Disorder, is the extreme changes in mood, energy and the ability to function. The mood usually swings from ecstatic, irritable and/or aggressive (manic) to sad and hopeless (depression). Periods of fairly normal mood can be experienced between cycles.
The exact cause of Bipolar Disorder is unknown, but it may be a combination of biochemical, genetic and psychological factors. Approximately 50% of patients with Bipolar Disorder have at least one parent with a Mood Disorder.
Bipolar knows no boundaries; it could affect anyone and is not restricted to any specific economical social or educational class.
“Contrary to many misconceptions, Bipolar Disorder is treatable and people living with Bipolar Disorder can lead very functional and fulfilling lives, provided they receive ongoing treatment”, says Bharti Patel (National Director of the SA Federation for Mental Health).
Bipolar Disorder requires long-term treatment, since it is a chronic, relapsing illness. The most effective treatment plan includes a combination of medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes and social support.
The SA Federation for Mental Health strives to educate and empower communities to attain optimal Mental Wellbeing, as Mental Health is the nation’s wealth.
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