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Bipolar disorder

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Introduction
Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood swings. The mood swings can range from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression).
Causes of bipolar disorder
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not fully understood, but it is thought there are a complex mix of physical, environmental and social factors.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder
If your GP suspects that you have bipolar disorder, they will usually refer you to a psychiatrist (a medically qualified mental health specialist).
Treating bipolar disorder
Treatments aim to reduce the number and severity of the episodes of depression and mania that characterise bipolar disorder. In doing so, a person can live as normal a life as possible.
Living with bipolar disorder
Although bipolar disorder is usually a long-term condition, effective treatments along with self-help techniques can limit its impact on your life.
'I believed that I was the archangel Gabriel'
Watch a video about Rod, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1987. He describes his symptoms, the treatments offered to him and how he copes today.
See what the doctor sees with Map of Medicine
See what your doctor sees, find out what is happening with your Bipolar Disorder treatment and what the next steps might be.