Bipolar Affective Distorder

Do you… ?

  • Have excessive changes in mood that can swing from extreme lows to great highs?
  • Ever lose touch with reality?

What is Bipolar Affective Disorder?

Bipolar Affective Disorder (BPAD), also known as manic depression, is a condition that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to function. The person has episodes of mania or depression, which are different from normal ‘ups and downs’ in that they are more severe and can damage relationships and ability to work. Symptoms of mania include, increased energy, activity and restlessness, extreme irritability and euphoric mood, talking very quickly and jumping from one idea to another as well as unrealistic ideas about ones ability and powers. For symptoms of Depression, click here.

Sometimes severe episodes of mania or depression include experiences of psychosis such as hallucinations and delusions.


“You feel like you’re a genius, you feel you’re the only person in the world who can see it the right way.”

“The lows, the nothing. There’s nothing left in you. You’re beyond tears, you’re even beyond thought.”

How common is it?

It is said that the chance of someone developing the disorder is about 1 in 100 in a lifetime. Often sufferers have a family history of either depression or BPAD. Onset is usually in late teens or twenties, and affects men and women equally.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have recommended two main treatments for BPAD. These are medication and psychological therapy.


Self-help Options:

Here are some self-help materials that we recommend:

How to get help?

If you think you are experiencing features of mania or hypomania then it is best to visit your GP who can assess your symptoms. Your GP may refer you on to specialist services.

Acknowledgement of references

Powell, T. (2009) The Mental Health Handbook: A Cognitive Behavioural Approach, 3rd Edition, Speechmark.

Mind. (2010) Understanding Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

The British Psychological Society. (2010) Understanding Bipolar Disorder