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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Bi-polar affective disorder (manic depression)

Bi-polar affective disorder is a mood disorder where your mood swings from being very high and happy (mania) to very low and sad (depression).

In the high phase, people with bi-polar affective disorder have lots of energy and feel like they hardly need to sleep. They may think and talk faster and take more risks. They may also have a very high opinion of themselves and overestimate what they are able to do.


Manic depression

When a person with bi-polar affective disorder is low, their body and mind slow down and they feel extremely sad and negative. It can often be difficult to concentrate or take an interest in anything, which can make it hard to carry out everyday activities. Sleeping can also be a problem. Some people feel like they want to withdraw from society during this phase, and may plan or attempt suicide.

Both the high manic phase and the low depressive phase can include hallucinations and delusions.   Hallucinations are experiences of seeing, hearing, smelling or tasting something which you really believe to be there, even though it isn't.   Delusions are a strongly held belief in something that isn't true or real. They are often a belief in something unusual, such as being controlled by aliens. The person believes in their delusion in spite of any evidence that proves it wrong.

If you think you may be experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you contact your GP. With the right support, bi-polar affective disorder can be both treated and controlled.


The following links below offer more detailed information and advice on a wide range of mental health conditions:

Bipolar UK


Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Mental Health Foundation

NHS Local

NHS Choices