Dr Balu Pitchiah MBBS, MRCPsych, CCST,MBA (OXON)
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What is Bipolar Disorder and Why Does It Happen?

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If you or someone you know have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder then you may be wondering what this means and why it has happened. We don’t yet understand everything about this disorder, but treatment can help to manage the symptoms and reduce the impact on daily life, work and relationships.

bipolar disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a potentially severe mental health illness that can have a dramatic effect on those who are affected and on the people around them. The condition used to be known as manic depression and is characterised by extreme changes in mood that can be severe enough to disrupt everyday activities. People who have bipolar disorder can experience periods of depression and episodes of mania, a high, excitable mood that can lead to unusual or risky behaviour. Bipolar disorder can affect anyone and it can vary in terms of the severity of the mood swings and how quickly they happen.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Although we are gaining a better understanding of mental health and the reasons why conditions like bipolar disorder occur, we still don’t know why some people are affected. Some research has suggested that there may be a genetic link as the condition seems to run in some families. However, our experiences may also play a role as people who have gone through traumatic or stressful situations can be more likely to develop bipolar disorder. The symptoms can often appear or be triggered after a difficult experience. As we learn more about this condition, we may come to understand the causes better. However, for now it is impossible to say why bipolar disorder happens. It is no one’s fault that they are affected and there is probably nothing that could have been done to prevent it.

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