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Bipolar disorder

What is it

People with bipolar disorder experience very high or low moods, which can often last for long periods of time (from days to weeks).

The feelings and actions associated with bipolar disorder can come and go. Bipolar disorder is more likely to become noticeable in older young people aged 15 and above, but younger people can experience bipolar disorder too.

Feelings and behaviours

  • Having extreme mood swings
  • Experiencing mania, a state that can involve talking a lot, racing thoughts, overconfidence and increased activity
  • Experiencing hypomania, which is like mania with less noticeable thoughts and actions
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • In some cases, thinking about self-harm or hurting yourself
  • Feeling empty or worthlessness
  • Feeling guilt and despair
  • Feeling pessimistic about everything (seeing the worst in everything or believing that the worst will happen)

Physical signs

  • Experiencing periods of low energy levels
  • Having trouble sleeping (finding it difficult to get to sleep or waking up lots)
  • Having a reduced appetite (being less hungry)
  • Feeling impulsive (likely to do things without thinking them through first) and doing impulsive things such as spending lots of money or taking risks.

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