Bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression) is a mental health condition characterised by dramatic shifts in mood, energy, behaviour and thinking. People with bipolar disorder will experience contrasting episodes of intense highs and lows - mania and depression. These cycles are unlike ordinary mood swings. They can last for days, weeks and even months, and are capable of affecting a sufferer's health, relationships, day-to-day living and overall quality of life.
Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that can make it difficult for sufferers to regulate their mood. Symptoms of bipolar disorder (manic and depressive episodes) can often overwhelm a person's functioning, and may even influence them to behave in ways that are beyond their true nature. Despite this, many people don't recognise the warning signs of bipolar disorder and may miss out on getting the help they need.
There are various means of treatment for bipolar disorder that can help to alleviate symptoms, make life easier and the condition more manageable.