Bipolar Affective Disorder

Manic Depression

Mental Health Info & Links  -

A-Z Mental Health Links

Links             Childhood Bipolar         Cyclothymia         Books


Bipolar Affective Disorder is a serious mental illness in which the sufferer will experience extreme mood swings, varying from very low (depression) to very high or periods of elation (mania).  There will be periods of 'normality' between the 2 extremes.  These periods of normal mood may be increasingly prolonged as the person's mood is stabilised with medication.  During these times, the person will lead a relatively normal life.

1 in 100 people will suffer with manic depression at some point in their lives.  It can start at any time, and affects both sexes equally.  Even children can be affected, when it can sometimes be easily confused with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  See Childhood Bipolar links below


See Depression page for symptoms of depression.

In mania, a person may experience all or some of the following symptoms:

full of energy
feeling very important
talking very quickly
spending lots of money
uninhibited (inc. sexually)
full of ideas and plans
difficulty sleeping
very excited and happy
sometimes hear voices
delusions - fixed, false beliefs - usually grandiose - eg. they may believe they are a very important person
the person will often report that they are feeling very well - and don't believe anything is wrong


Treatment consists of mood stablisers such as Lithium or Sodium Valporate.  The sufferer will need to have their blood levels monitored to ensure that their blood levels of the medication are maintained within the therapeutic range.   It can sometimes take a considerably long time for the medication to start having some effect, and also to find the right medication for each person.

In addition to the long-term use of mood stabilisers, antidepressants may be used during periods of depression, and major tranquillizers ('anti-psychotics') may be used during periods of mania.  It is sometimes necessary for the sufferer to come into hospital to be stabilsed, and/or for their safety.

See Keeping Well page for Self-Help Info


Cyclothymia (or cycolthymic disorder) is condition where sufferers have mood swings ranging from depression to hypomania - but never reach diagnostic criteria for bipolar, mania or severe depressive episode.  The swings in mood may be several days or weeks, but may also last only a few hours - with perhaps several mood swings a day.  See cyclothymia links below.


Childhood Bipolar

Not widely recognised until very recent years, but being increasingly so now.  Mood swings, irritability and rage are very intense, and there may be very rapid cycling - sometimes several times a day.  Childhood bipolar is often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).    See Childhood Bipolar links below


Bipolar/Manic Depression

Manic Depression/Bipolar Disorders  RCPsych

Lithium Therapy RCPsych 

Manic Depression Fellowship

Manic Depression Fellowship

The Manic Depression Website

BPSO - Support for families of bipolar sufferers

Bipolar Disorder   Joy Ikelman's site

Manic Depressive Fellowship Wales

MDF Aberdeen

Winds of Change - Bipolar Disorder Online Support Group

Bipolar - Now What?

Mental Health InfoSource

Bipolar at Suite 101

Bipolar Planet

Bipolar World

Bipolar Disorders

Greater London Manic Depressive Fellowship

Riding the Cyclone - Living with Bipolar Disorder

Pendulum Resources

Bipolar Disorder Sanctuary

Facts about Manic Depression

New Approaches to Treatment  Medscape article

Fish Oils may relieve symptoms

Stigma of Manic Depression - a Psychologist's Experience

What is Bipolar Disorder?  Site sponsored by Glaxo Wellcome (who may well be biased when mentioning medication)

Mania Screening Quiz

Bipolar Parents

Bipolar - not Bonkers

The Bipolar Bear Club

Diagnosis & Symptoms

Patchwork Angel's Bipolar Haven

Australia's Bipolar Website   Forum    Forum


Childhood Bipolar

Diagnosing Bipolar or ADHD

The Bipolar Child

The Bipolar Child - Mescape article & radio interview

Infinite Mind - the Bipolar Child

Childhood Onset Bipolar

Bipolar Kids

Bipolar Disorder in Children & Adolescents

Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation

Bipolar Parents

BPSO - Support for families of bipolar sufferers

Laughter & Surviving - Support forum for parents and carers

Bipolar Parents & Teens

Early Onset Bipolar Disorder (at Bipolar - Now What?)

Bipolar Affective Disorder in Children & Adolescents

Bipolar Affective Disorder in Young People RCPsych



Cyclothymia at

ICD-10 Diagnostic criteria

DSM IV Diagnostic criteria


Cyclothymia at Suite101

Cyclothymic Disorder - treatment

Cyclothymic Disorder - symptoms

Cyclothymic Disorder at Internet Mental Health (includes online screening tool)


Clinical Validation of the Bipolar Spectrum  (medscape article)



Staying Sane
Serious Mental Illness - A Family Affair
Bipolar Puzzle Solution: A Mental Health Client's Perspective: 187 Answers to Questions Asked by Support Group Members About Living With Manic Depression
An Unquiet Mind (Story of a psychologist with manic depression)
Living Without Depression and Manic Depression
We heard the Angels of Madness
Surviving Post-Natal Depression
Being Happy!
Mind Over Mood  - Self-Help with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (Clinician's Guide also available)
Breaking the Pattern of Depression
The Beast - A Journey Through Depression
Control Your Depression
Depression - Your Questions Answered
Essential Guide to Depression
Overcoming Depression
Coping with Anxiety and Depression
Learn to Relax
Manage Your Mind 

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I do not endorse any of the above links - I have not checked the whole content of each site.  In most cases I have only visited their Home Page


22 April 2002