What is Bipolar Disorder (manic depression)?
Many people experience a lifelong tendency to substantial swings of mood (which may be referred to as bipolarity or cyclothymia). Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression or manic-depressive illness, refers to severe episodes of mood disturbance that affect a person’s ability to function normally.
Bipolar disorder is thought to affect 1 in every 100 adults at some time during their life, and men and women appear to be affected equally.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by disturbances in mood ranging from depression to elation. Although it may be enjoyable to have these ‘highs’ (feeling life is great, overconfident etc.) the symptoms often become unmanageable and an individual may become excessively argumentative, irritable, and impulsive. These moods may also be accompanied by alterations in thinking and perception, including psychotic features (delusions and hallucinations).
For more information check out our bipolar disorder fact sheet, available in English or Welsh, or click on the links below.