Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder & Psychotherapy Counselling

In the last 20 years bipolar disorder has become more widely understood. This better understanding is helped in part by celebrities revealing that they suffer with the disorder. More people, it is thought, have been encouraged to seek help because of celebrity revelations which also helps to reduce the stigma associated with the disorder. Catherine Zeta-Jones revealed last month that she has the condition. Other celebrities who have the condition include – Robbie Williams, Sinead O’Connor, Stephen Fry, Ben Stiller, Ruby Wax, Frank Bruno and Paul Gascoigne.

Surveys suggest that up to 2% of the world’s population suffer from bipolar disorder. In the UK, approximately 1 million people are thought to be bipolar. This disorder is distinguished from ‘unipolar’ or clinical depression which is characterised by lows alone.

There is a spectrum to the disorder where suffers can vary according to type and severity of their mood swings.  Those diagnosed with Bipolar I suffer from full blown manic episodes alongside depression. Those with Bipolar II tend to experience less intense symptoms – Catherine Zeta-Jones suffers from this form. It is thought that there can be over-diagnosis of bipolar disorder taking place where symptoms are less intense  particularly among the young.

During manic episodes, patients can have racing thoughts and a grandiose sense of their own importance. Their speech can become rapid and they only need a few hours sleep a night. In some cases, huge credit card bills can be run up or, due to heightened libido being a common symptom, sleeping with strangers can result. The most severe attacks can include delusions or paranoia. In their milder form, these spells can make people inventive and productive, enhancing cognitive resources.

There is no known cure for bipolar disorder but it is known to be helped by psychotherapy as well as, at times, the use of medication. With the right psychotherapy, patients can spot patterns of behaviour and possible triggers for episodes of depression or mania as well as have an outlet to discuss and try to understand what can feel like such bewildering, uncomfortable and out of control emotions, thoughts and behaviours. Cavendish Psychotherapy counsellors are experienced in talking to those with bipolar disorder