What is Bipolar Disorder?

The term ‘bipolar’ means two poles and refers to the two extreme mood states that people diagnosed with bipolar disorder can experience i.e. depression and mania.

  • Depression is a severe low mood.
  • Mania is an extreme high/elevated or irritable mood.

For some people a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be very useful as it helps them make sense of their experiences and guides them to treatment options which may be helpful. Other people do not like this label. They do not see their experiences as a disorder and may feel this label is stigmatising.

Some people experience psychosis during extreme mood swings so the modules ‘Module 1 – What is Psychosis’, ‘Module 3 – Managing Positive Symptoms’ and ‘Module 4 – Managing Negative Symptoms’ may also be relevant to you.

Other people have severe mood swings but don’t have psychosis. However all the other modules in REACT including ‘Module 11 – Dealing with Crises’, ‘Module 6 – Dealing With Difficult Situations’, ‘Module 7 – Managing Stress (Doing Things Differently)’, ‘Module 8 – Managing Stress (Thinking Differently)’, ‘Module 9 – Understanding Mental Health Services’, ‘Module 10 – Treatment Options’ and ‘Module 12 – The Future’ are all relevant to bipolar as well as psychosis.

Our Resource Directory also includes lots of information specific to bipolar disorder.

Watch James discuss developing bipolar experiences