NHS Logo
As One Logo

Bipolar – a misunderstood condition

30 Mar 24

Today is World Bipolar Day and this is celebrated every year on the 30 March. This is the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was diagnosed with bipolar after he died.

Bipolar is an often misunderstood condition and today is an opportunity to educate people and challenge any misconceptions. Bipolar used to be known as manic-depression or manic- depressive psychosis.

Episodes of extreme mood swings and changes in energy levels are two of the key characteristics of Bipolar. It is a severe mental illness and those with living with the condition require intensive support to manage their symptoms.

People with bipolar can often have lengthy period of times when their symptoms are well managed, but they can then go ‘low’ (into deep depression) or ‘high’ (experiencing hypomania, mania or psychosis). Symptoms of depression and mania can sometimes occur at the same time.

Bipolar does not discriminate and anyone can be affected from all ages and backgrounds. The most common symptoms are:

  • suicidal thinking
  • depression
  • hypomania and mania

Hypomania and mania are periods of over-active and high energy behaviour that can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life. Hypomania is a milder version of mania that typically lasts for a shorter period. 

Bipolar symptoms are usually first noticeable in teenagers and young adults and result from a system imbalance that makes it difficult for your brain to regulate mood. Although Bipolar is considered a severe mental illness, effective treatments are available, and many people lead successful personal and professional lives as they learn to manage it.

Further information about the condition can be obtained from https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/mental-illnesses-and-mental-health-problems/bipolar-disorder

The charity Bipolar UK provides peer support and information.

Contact Us