Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects your mood.
If you have bipolar disorder, you are likely to have times where you experience:
Everyone has variations in their mood, but in bipolar disorder these changes can be very
distressing and have a big impact on your life. You may feel that your high and low
moods are extreme, and that swings in your mood are overwhelming.
Depending on the way you experience these mood states, and how severely they affect
you, your doctor may diagnose you with a particular type of bipolar disorder.
“It's an emotional amplifier: when my mood is high I feel far quicker, funnier, smarter and
livelier than anyone; when my mood is low I take on the suffering of the whole world.”
The term 'bipolar' refers to the way your mood can change between two very different states – mania and depression. In the past, bipolar disorder was referred to as manic depression, so you might still hear people use this term. Some health care professionals may also use the term bipolar affective disorder ('affective' means the disorder relates to mood or emotions).
Many people have heard of bipolar disorder, but this doesn't mean they understand the diagnosis fully. You might find that some people have misconceptions about you or have a negative or inaccurate image of bipolar disorder. This can be very upsetting, especially if someone who feels this way is a friend, colleague, family member or a health care professional.
But it's important to remember that you aren't alone, and you don't have to put up with people treating you badly.
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