Depression is more than a short-lived bad mood or sadness.People who are depressed often have low mood for extended periods of time, weeks or months, with low energy, no motivation, lack of interest in social interactions, loss of their previous interests and enthusiasms, insomnia, changes in appetite or weight and poor concentration and memory. If the depression is severe, they may feel excessive or unreasonable guilt, have thoughts of death or suicide and may even lose touch with reality and believe they have cancer or are completely impoverished.
Do you have bipolar disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is an illness that results from an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, which can cause extreme fluctuations of mood from the heights of mania (elevated mood which may be out of character for the individual) to the depths of depression (persistent low mood). Everyone experiences happiness and sadness, however those that live with Bipolar Disorder feel these mood changes at an exaggerated level. The changes are often referred to as cycles or episodes. Types of Bipolar Disorder Bipolar Illness is usually grouped into two types: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Although Bipolar I is the most studied of the two types, guidance on the management of Bipolar II is extrapolated from those studies.
1. People with Bipolar I Disorder experience at least one lifetime episode of mania, and usually episodes of depression
2.People with Bipolar II Disorder experience episodes of depression plus episodes of a mild form of mania called hypomania (persistent elevation of mood, energy and activity).
Bipolar Disorder often goes unrecognised and there is good evidence that it can take up to 10 years for an accurate diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Earlier recognition of Bipolar Disorder is likely to offer the hope of more appropriate management strategies being initiated.
If you think this sounds like you or someone you care about then your doctor can help. If you go to the mood disorder questionnaire fill it in and take to your doctor, it may help determine whether further actions or referrals are required as there are many avenues for help starting with your general practitioner.
Bipolar Disorder used to be called Manic Depression. In the 1960’s, it became apparent that there were major differences between people that experienced mania and those that experienced depression, particularly in course and family history. The overlap has always been recognised, but in order to indicate the separation, 2 new terms were adopted: unipolar depression and bipolar disorder.