Bi Polar Disorders

bipolar disorders

quick facts

Bipolar disorder, previously referred to as manic depression, involves periods of elevated or irritable mood (mania), alternating with periods of depression. A person may feel unreasonably happy one week and sad and listless the next. Bipolar disorder is episodic; people get ill, and can have periods of wellness and then the illness may relapse at a later date. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, it is estimated between 1 and 2 % of the Australian adult population is affected by bipolar disorder, although it is most commonly recognised in young adults aged 18 to 24 years old. Bipolar Disorder can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, ethnic origin, income, education or occupation.

Bipolar disorder is divided into several subtypes. Each has a different pattern of symptoms which can include:

  • Bipolar I disorder: Mood swings with bipolar I may cause significant difficulties in the individual’s employment, school or relationships, although less common some people experience episodes of mania without ever experiencing a depressive episode.
  • Bipolar II disorder: Bipolar II is less severe than bipolar I. The mood may be elevated with periods of irritability and some changes in functioning, but generally people can carry on with their normal daily routine. Instead of full-blown mania, hypomania a less severe form of mania is present. In bipolar II, periods of depression typically last longer than periods of hypomania.
  • Cyclothymia: Cyclothymia is a mild form of bipolar disorder. With cyclothymia, hypomania and depression can be disruptive, but the highs and lows are not as severe as they are with other types of bipolar disorder.
  • The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t completely understood however there does appear to be a genetic link.

    signs and symptoms

    Signs of a depressive cycle may include

    • periods of great sadness
    • guilt
    • loss of appetite
    • poor sleep
    • inability to enjoy life
    • concentration and memory difficulties
    • procrastination
    • withdrawing from social interactions

    Signs of mania may include

    • erratic and excited behaviour
    • emotional instability
    • poor sleep
    • disinhibited behaviour (eg wreckless spending)

    It is generally believed that 30% to 60% of those with bipolar disorder (manic depression) also struggle with alcoholism or substance abuse. The feelings of depression and anxiety associated with bipolar can be a factor that leads to the misuse of other substances. Acknowledging drug and alcohol factors may make an enormous difference to stabilising mood swings and improving the quality of life.

    options for treatment

    Today, with the advances in therapies and with appropriate management plans, those living with bipolar disorder can lead full and productive lives. Perth Clinic offers a range of treatment options that will be tailored to your specific needs. Treatment can be offered as an inpatient or a day patient, either in a group setting or on an individual basis. Options for treatment include

    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    • Interpersonal Therapy
    • Medications
    • Education/information
    • Family/carer support

    At Perth Clinic we have found that your treatment will be most effective if:

    • you are actively involved in your treatment plan
    • your family and/or supporters are involved in your treatment
    • you recieve timely information on your illness and treatment options
    • you access support at the right time

    For further information go to Treatment Programs


    For further information go to Referral Process