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BIPOLAR disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterised by recurrent episodes of extreme moods, for instance feeling euphoric (mania) followed by major depression.

Many people with bipolar disorder have long periods of normal mood, when they are unaffected by their illness, while others experience rapidly changing moods or persistent low moods that affect their quality of life.

During a manic episode, symptoms include excessive cheerfulness, talking constantly, racing thoughts, overactivity, less need of sleep, a feeling of importance, irritability, increased interest in sex.

The symptoms of depression include low mood or sadness, loss of energy, loss of appetite, poor sleep, loss of confidence, slowing of thought and speech, loss of the ability to experience pleasure and suicidal thoughts.

Who gets it? Bipolar disorder affects about one in 100 people. It typically begins before the age of 30 but may occur at any age.

What's the treatment? Medications to help balance mood, along with learning to recognize triggers and develop coping mechanisms.

Contact the Manic Depression Fellowship on 020 7793 2600 or log on to
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2006
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