Bipolar Affective Disorder

Bipolar disorder is now the term for what used to be called manic depression. This new name describes the main characteristic of the illness which is mood swings from one extreme to the other. People diagnosed with bipolar may experience recurrent episodes of elevated mood and/or low mood. Although most people experience highs and lows, some mostly have highs or mostly have lows.

Are there different types of bipolar disorder?

There is Bipolar I disorder and Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar I involves significant departures from normal behavior. Bipolar II disorder involves a milder form of mania (hypomania) and may go undiagnosed for some period of time.

How can I tell if someone is manic or hypomanic?

Sometimes the characteristics of mania or hypomania might be an individual in very good spirits, effervescent, feeling fantastic, confident, and invincible.

Other times the person might appear to be agitated, irritable or aggressive. The person's thoughts and speech are rapid, and they may express grandiose ideas. They may not feel the need to sleep and may involve themselves in high levels of activity. Because judgement is impaired the individual or others may be put at risk. Reckless behaviour is common.

What is the treatment for bipolar disorder?

It is generally treated with a combination of medications one of which usually is a mood stabiliser. Psychological approaches are not sufficient on their own but are very useful in addition to medication.

Can bipolar disorder be cured?

There is currently no known cure.

In considering this question however it is important to remember that significant breakthroughs in treatment may be made in the future.

Will I have to stay on medication forever?

According to current knowledge medication is required long-term. It is very important for the bipolar client to achieve stability in life, and medication is necessary and psychological assistance very helpful in achieving this goal.

There is much that a psychological approach, in addition to a medical approach, can contribute to an improved quality of life and better treatment outcome for individuals with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a particular area of interest for Rowe Psychology.

However we would request that if you want to see us that this would be in addition to appropriate medication, and regular attendance at your psychiatrist or GP.

More information or make a booking

To find out how Rowe Psychology can help you, please call us on 03 9556 5481, or 0419 982 335, or submit an enquiry here: Enquiry Form

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