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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is bipolar disorder?

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    Raynor Lander

    Health Psychologist, Psychologist

    I have worked as a psychologist in clinical practice for the past eighteen years. My private practice focuses on family therapy and relationship counselling. The … View Profile


    Bipolar disorder Is a Mood disorder defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated affect, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes.  Previously elevated moods were referred to as mania or if milder hypomania. Such individuals also experience depressive symptoms which can be very debilitating.   There is also rapidly cycling bi=-polar where depression and mania may rapidly alternate.  Severe manic episodes can sometimes lead to such psychotic symptoms as delusions and hallucinations.The disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II and more recently bi-polar 111 which is induced by medication.Bi-polar generally occurs in late adolescence or young adulthood and diagnosis is based on self-reported experiences or observed behavior. The episodes are associated with distress and disruption and in depression episodes the increased risk of suicide.Manic episodes are usually characterised by sleeplessness, high levels of activity, spending money and/or hypersexuality. The individual seems to have endless energy and talks and socialises excessively.  The disorder can be disruptive of the lives of the sufferer and their families. However, the condition can be managed and individuals can lead perfectly normal lives if and when they accept their conditon and take responsibility for managing it.   Bi-Polar is often associated with success and ahievements. There is significant evidence to suggest that many people with creative talents have also suffered from some form of bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy can be of assistance when the person is stablised but medication is usually required to control the episodes.

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