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Understanding Bipolar

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1 Understanding Bipolar on Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:26 pm

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DEFINITION: Bipolar Disorder is a serious but treatable medical illness. It is characterised by extreme shifts in mood, energy, thinking and behaviour.

SOME SIGNS YOU MAY NOTICE:

Bipolar Disorder is marked by periods of mania (highs), greatly elated moods, or excited states interspersed with periods of depression (lows).

Individuals behave differently but may have common signs such as:

Euphoria or being ‘high’
Paranoia
Extreme hyperactivity
Depression
Irritability
There can also be long periods of stability in between episodes. Individual’s have their unique pattern of severity and duration.

TYPES OF BIPOLAR

BIPOLAR I

Where there has been at least one high, or manic episode, which has lasted longer than a week. Some people will only have manic episodes, although most will also have depressive ones. Some will have more depressive episodes than manic ones.

BIPOLAR II

There has been more than one episode of major depression, but only minor manic episodes – these are referred to as hypomania


WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

Assess each patient as an individual
Refer the patient on to specialist help at any early stage
Being aware that the times just after someone has been ill are the most dangerous in terms of suicide and self-harm
Remember that patients may not be able to work or comply with rules due to their illness.
Encourage self-help such as the offender:
Do not collude in grandiose ideas

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