Last updated: 4 January 2021
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression, is a serious and long-term mental illness that causes a person’s mood to swing between two extremes. This includes:
Mania/Hypomania – Experiencing high moods, irritability and a big increase in activity.
Depression – Feeling sad, having low mood, irritability or loss of interest.
Bipolar disorder is more common in younger age groups between 16-24 year olds. It is not like the common mood swing. Bipolar disorder is severe. It can cause problems in the everyday life of a child or young person and can sometimes lead to hospitalization.
During an episode of depression, people with bipolar disorder can be overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness. Because of this, people with this disorder can often have thoughts about suicide. It is important to pay attention to these signs, so that the right support can be given early on to prevent serious harm.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
The cause of bipolar disorder is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors and an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. These are some factors to consider:
If a close relative has bipolar disorder
Early life stress (e.g. abuse, neglect, trauma)
Maternal death before turning 5 years old
Use of cannabis
Exposure to cocaine