Page written and resources collated by Emily Wheeler, Senior Wellbeing Practitioner
Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression) is a mental health condition that causes repeated, severe mood swings. At different times your mood can vary from excitement, elation impulsive behaviour, grandiose thoughts and agitation called mania, to depression and despair. Depressive symptoms can include lack of energy, feeling worthless, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. You can also have psychotic symptoms. Psychotic symptoms can mean that you see and hear things that feel real, but they don’t exist. Extreme fluctuations in moods are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time.
There are different types of bipolar disorder, and it affects everyone differently. The main types are bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder. Bipolar I involves depression and mania, an extremely high mood. Bipolar II is more likely to involve depression and hypomania. Hypomania is similar to mania but less extreme.
For some people, depression is the dominant mood. Some people find they often fluctuate between high and low moods or have long periods when their moods are stable. Sometimes people can also have mixed emotions, experiencing both low and high moods at the same time.
Some people with bipolar disorder have only a few episodes during their life. Other people may have them more regularly. Between episodes of mood disturbances, you may not have any symptoms at all. About one in 100 people get bipolar disorder at some point in their life. You’re most likely to develop bipolar disorder for the first time in your mid-teens to your mid-20s. Both men and women develop it in pretty much equal numbers. We don’t know what causes Bipolar, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental causes. Bipolar disorder is treated with medication or talking therapies.
Please note that whilst we hope that all of the resources below are useful, the Student Wellbeing Service does not endorse the opinions expressed by other parties.