World Bipolar Day
World Bipolar Day is celebrated each year on March 30th, the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as having the disorder.
But what is Bipolar disorder?
Historically known as manic depression, bipolar is a mood disorder. There are different types, but it can cause your mood to swing from an extreme high to an extreme low.
Manic symptoms can include increased energy, excitement, impulsive behaviour and agitation, while depressive symptoms can include lack of energy, feeling worthless, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. Sometimes, people can also suffer from psychotic symptoms, whereby they see and hear things that aren’t real.
Although much progress has been made in understanding bipolar and how it can be managed, research has still not led to either a consensus on the cause or a cure.
Some research suggests that there is, if not a known genetic link, then certainly an inherited predisposition to developing bipolar. It is also known that stressful life events may often precede an episode of mania, hypomania or depression.
Bipolar affects everyone differently and can be difficult to diagnose, but there are some common signs that can help you identify the illness. Some examples of mania and depression symptoms can be found below.
- Feeling happy or excited, even if things are not going well for you
- Moving quickly from one idea to another
- Hearing voices that other people can’t hear
- Being more irritable than normal
- Talking very quickly, jumping from one idea to another, racing thoughts
- Being easily distracted and struggle to focus on one topic
- Not being able to sleep, or feel that you don’t want to sleep
- Thinking you can do much more than you actually can,
- Doing things you usually wouldn’t, which can cause problems such as spending a lot of money, using drugs or alcohol, gambling, making unwise decisions.
- Low mood
- Having less energy and feeling tired
- Feeling hopeless or negative
- Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
- Being less interested in things you usually like doing or enjoying them less
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep
- Losing or gaining weight, when you do not mean to
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.
According to NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), to minimise the effects of bipolar affective disorder and work towards having the best quality of life, you’re likely to need medication. However, psychological and psychosocial interventions have an important part to play in managing your disorder, as do lifestyle changes and social support.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is particularly helpful if your condition is stable, and will help you:
- Reduce the negative impact of bipolar manic depression
- Identify and correct habitual thoughts which lead to harmful conclusions
- Work on your skills of awareness, introspection and evaluation
- Achieve improved coping and reality testing skills
- Regulate your mood swings (where possible)
- Reduce the impact of your bipolar illness on you, your loved ones and your work colleagues
- Remain motivated to take medication
- Identify triggers and help reduce your chance of a relapse.
The vision of World Bipolar Day (WBD) is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and to eliminate social stigma. Through international collaboration, the goal of World Bipolar Day is to bring the world population information about bipolar disorders that will educate and improve sensitivity towards the illness.