Bipolar Affective Disorder used to be known as Manic Depression. There can be a significant delay in the diagnosis of this disorder as it often initially presents as a recurrent depression. When a hypomanic or manic episode does occur, other causes must be excluded such as physical illness, substance/medication use or other psychiatric disorders, before the diagnosis can be made. There may be a family history, environmental triggers or other vulnerabilities.
Symptoms of hypomania/mania include a change in mood (irritability, elation) and changes in other domains:
- physiological (decreased sleep, appetite, with increased energy/drive, libido)
- physical (weight loss, agitation)
- thinking (increased confidence, self-esteem, spiritual focus, planning projects)
- cognitive (talkativeness, racing and erratic thoughts)
- behaviours (risky and reckless, impulsivity, aggression, indiscretions, self-neglect, substance use, impaired functioning and suicide)
- psychosis (paranoia, grandiosity, jealousy, voices, experiencing messages or others’ thoughts)
Considerable risk may be associated with both mania and depression due to a deterioration in behaviours and judgement. This can lead to significant impact on safety, relationships, finances, employment, reputation and potential for misadventure or other adverse outcome.
Assessment requires taking a thorough history (including from loved ones if available), physical health screening, and looking for triggers and potential risks.
Management requires short-term and long-term strategies, depending on the level of risk and supports. Medications are a mainstay of treatment. Sometimes admission is required. Learning about the disorder and how to prevent relapse is very important, which will include self-monitoring and lifestyle changes.
We are here to help and assist you with a collaborative approach to your recovery and achieving stability and quality of life.