Waitematā DHB Maternal Mental Health Service
Public Service Maternity
Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression
This is a mood disorder in which both depressive (persistent low mood) and manic (elevated or high mood) episodes are experienced. It is usually a recurring (i.e. keeps coming back) disorder that can cause a lot of havoc in all aspects of a person’s life. People with this disorder will experience periods of extreme mood changes but also periods of stable mood during which they may be able to return to everyday routines.
These changes of mood can be very extreme and occur for no apparent reason. Different people will experience this disorder in different ways; some may have few episodes, others many, and symptoms may vary from mild to severe. When severely depressed or elevated, a person can become ‘psychotic’ i.e. lose touch with reality.
- Usually by medication (antidepressants if depressed and mood stabilisers if depressed and manic)
- A combination of counselling and psychotherapy (‘talking therapy’) may hasten recovery
- Hospitalisation may be required for those who are very unwell and are posing a risk to themselves or to others.