Bipolar Affective Disorder

Bipolar affective disorder is another name for what was once known as manic depression. ‘Bipolar’ to the very low mood (depression) – that people with this condition may experience.


We do not know the exact cause of bipolar affective disorder. However genetic, biochemical , and stressful life events or circumstances may all play a role. If someone in the family/whanau has the condition, relatives may have an increased risk of developing it.


Treatment of bipolar affective disorder involves a number of important components, each of which can be tailored to the person’s needs. While the emphasis is on treatment in the person’s community, in some cases hospital treatment may be needed. The main components of treatment are medication and psychosocial treatments which address the person’s thinking, behaviour and relationships. In extremely rare cases, electro convulsive therapy (ECT) may be suggested NZ*

Symptoms & Signs

A mood fluctuation that people may experience, from an extremely elated mood(mania) to a very low mood(depression) or vice versa.

Manic Symptoms

  • Elevated mood; overly excited, happy and optimistic
  • Grandiose ideas and inflated self-esteem
  • Increased energy and activity with decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts; Rapid, pressured speech
  • Impulsive behavior (E.g. Grossly overspending; Gambling; Dangerous driving; Unrealistic plans for business)
  • Poor concentration and short attention span
  • Psychotic symptoms (e.g. delusions or hallucination)

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