Bipolar affective disorder

Living with bipolar affective disorder

A diagnosis of a bipolar affective disorder usually means that you have a mood disorder, which you may feel you have little control over. Some people will be able to manage their lives day-to-day with brief periods of disruption which can make it difficult to manage routines, relationships, education and work. For some people the periods of disruption can be much longer and they will require help to stabilise their lives. It is well researched that stress can have a big impact on bipolar affective disorder; so keeping stress levels well-managed is important to help maintain stability and avoid symptom relapse.

At Schoen Clinic, we can help you if you have a diagnosed bipolar affective disorder, (also frequently shortened to ‘bipolar’) at the point where it interferes with your day-to-day life. Our specialist day programme is designed to support your treatment.

What is bipolar affective disorder?

Bipolar affective disorders are characterised by fluctuations between elated mood (mania) and depressed mood. The fluctuation between these moods can differ from person-to-person.

Fluctuations can happen after a few days, weeks, months or years and sometimes occur several times a day. Frequent changes in mood are called rapid cycling. These changes can also include periods of mood stability where a person feels unaffected by depression or mania.

It is estimated that between 1-3% of the population experiences a bipolar affective disorder. However, it can take many years until a person receives an accurate diagnosis. It is usually during periods of depression when people seek help.

Signs of bipolar affective disorder: Mania

The symptoms of bipolar affective disorder can vary from person-to-person and dependent on the emotional state that you are currently experiencing. These can include:
  • Feeling happy or excited, even if things are not going well for you
  • Feeling better about yourself than you would usually
  • Feeling irritable
  • Issues with sleep, sleeplessness
  • Thinking you can do much more than you realistically can
  • Having lots of new, exciting ideas
  • Talking very quickly
  • Experiencing racing thoughts and easily distracted with a struggle to focus on one topic
  • Hearing voices
  • Making unusual or big decisions without much thought
  • Doing things you normally wouldn’t, which can cause you problems (i.e. spending lots of money, gambling, taking risky financial or business decisions, drugs or alcohol misuse)

Signs of bipolar affective disorder: Hypomania

The symptoms of Hypomania are similar to those experienced in Mania but milder. 

Signs of bipolar affective disorder: Depression

  • Intense low mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and guilt
  • Lack of enjoyment in previously pleasurable activities
  • Lack of motivation
  • Negative views of self, future and world
  • Difficulties in decision making, concentration and memory
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Withdrawal and social isolation, being less interested in activities previously enjoyed
  • Decreased standard of personal hygiene
  • Changes to sleeping pattern
  • Self-harm
  • Changes in appetite
  • Thoughts about suicide or attempts to end your life

Causes of bipolar affective disorder

There are a number of influential genetic, environmental and life factors leading to the development of a bipolar affective disorder, but no single cause has been identified.

Our treatments for bipolar affective disorder

Bipolar affective disorder is a broad term which includes a number of different presentations. Therefore, it is really important that you receive a full assessment with a specialist professional to get the treatment and help you need to reduce your symptoms. To achieve a precise diagnosis, our experts will perform a full assessment in order to understand potential causes and ongoing factors. Then they will cooperatively develop your treatment goals and a programme of dedicated support.

At Schoen Clinic our multidisciplinary team of specialists will provide a comprehensive and holistic range of interventions and support for your personal recovery.

A typical approach to treatment for bipolar affective disorder is a combination of prescribed medication and psychological therapy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for bipolar affective disorder treatment

Our multidisciplinary team are able to offer several outpatient therapeutic approaches to bipolar affective disorder including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which aims to help you challenge and restructure unhelpful thinking patterns that you experience about yourself, others and the world. As well as looking at the behaviours you are engaging in that may be contributory to poor mental health and wellbeing.

Day patient programmes

We are able to offer day and half-day programmes for the treatment of bipolar this personalised approach means we design the programme of treatment around your needs and symptoms and we will frequently review your programme as a multidisciplinary team. Our multidisciplinary team consists of: consultant psychiatrists, nurses, psychotherapists/psychologists, family therapists and occupational therapists. The team will apply a consistent and empathic approach to working with you and ensure they support you in all aspects of your life.

Our specialists

Our team of experts - consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologists, therapists, and specialist nurses work together as a multidisciplinary team for the benefit of every patient in the treatment of bipolar affective disorder.

Our specialised clinic

Discover here our specialised day clinic for bipolar affective disorder. Let our experienced team advise you now.