Bi-Polar disorder is a term you may be familiar with.

In recent times, a number of famous people have talked openly about their own struggles with bi-polar disorder, which used to be known as manic depression.

It is of course good to see that these people feel able to share their stories, and get the conversation out into the open, something I am always in favour of.

It is not a condition restricted to the rich and famous though!

Bi-polar disorder is a common condition, affecting about one in 100 people. It can start at any age, but is often diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood. Bi-polar disorder can cause extreme mood swings.

People with this condition experience periods of mania, when they feel very high and energised, and periods of depression, when they feel very low and hopeless.

These mood swings can affect a person’s ability to function in their day-to-day life.

The symptoms of bi-polar disorder can vary from person to person and from episode to episode.

Some common symptoms of mania (when a person is feeling high) can include: increased energy and activity; increased talkativeness; racing thoughts; grandiose ideas; increased sexual appetite; increased spending; and decreased need for sleep.

At the other end of the scale, the symptoms of depression can include: sadness and low mood; loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy; fatigue; difficulty concentrating; changes in sleep patterns; changes in appetite;  and thoughts of death or suicide.

As you can imagine, the effects on the person with bi-polar and those close to them, can be difficult to cope with.

There is no cure for bi-polar disorder, but it can be managed with medication and therapy, enabling those affected by it to have a better quality of life.

Bi-polar disorder is usually diagnosed by a psychiatrist, it can then be managed by another doctor or other mental health professional, using medication and other therapies.

Medications can help to stabilise mood and reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.

Talking therapy can help people with bi-polar disorder to learn how to cope with their symptoms and manage their condition.

If bi-polar disorder is not treated, it can have a significant impact on a person’s life.

People with untreated bi-polar disorder are more likely to experience such things as, difficulty holding down a job, financial instability.

However, with adequate treatment and support, most people with bi-polar disorder can live full and productive lives.

If you run any type of support group to help people with their mental health, in and around the area, then please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

Martin Furber is a therapist qualified in various modalities and an Instructor Member of Mental Health First Aid England