What Is Bipolar Disorder? - The GP Service
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What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that mainly affects an individual’s mood. It is common for people with bipolar to experience an extreme variation of emotions.

Variations include:

  • Depressive Episodes – feeling emotionally low and lethargic
  • Manic or Hypomanic Episodes – manic episodes involve feeling very high and hyperactive, whereas hypomania episodes are less severe episodes of mania.
  • Psychotic Symptoms – these occasionally occur during either depressive or manic episodes.

The extreme mood swings that a person with bipolar experiences is not the same as a general mood swing. Each extreme episode can last for several weeks, if not for longer periods. It is very common for a person living with the condition to never experience a “normal” mood very often.

Bipolar Symptoms

Dependant on what type of bipolar you have been diagnosed with you may experience any of the following symptoms during a depressive or manic episode.

Symptoms of Depressive Episodes

  • Feeling upset and hopeless for most of the time
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Loss of interest in food or overeating
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling worthless and empty
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling pessimistic
  • Loss of enjoyment in things you used to love
  • Low self-esteem
  • Tense and agitated
  • Lack of concentration

Symptoms of Manic Episodes

  • Feeling overly happy and elated
  • Hyperactivity
  • Speaking very quickly
  • Making irresponsible or risky decisions
  • Feeling self-important
  • Becoming irritated or agitated easily
  • Spending large sums of money
  • Becoming easily distracted
  • Stop eating
  • Overly confident and adventurous
  • Uncontrollably excited
  • Little to no sleep


If you think that you have been experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, talk to one of our dedicated Doctor’s online today. Living with bipolar disorder can be very disruptive to our day-to-day lives, finding the treatment that works for you can help keep things more balanced.

People living with bipolar disorder can treat their condition using one or more of the following treatments:

  • Medication such as mood stabilisers are used to prevent extreme episodes. They are commonly taken every day on a long-term basis. Medication is also available to help treat the main symptoms of bipolar disorder. This includes depression and mania.


  • Therapists are often combined with medication to help deal with depressive episodes.


  • Learning what triggers your extreme episodes is a great way to help manage bipolar disorder. When you can recognise what triggers your episodes, you can aim to avoid or prepare for when they occur.


  • Lifestyle changes such as getting more sleep and exercising regularly can help give you a sense of achievement if you are experiencing a depressive episode.