BERN, Switzerland (dpa) – They’re on top of the world and then down in the dumps. People who experience extreme mood swings may be suffering from bipolar disorder, the Swiss Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (SGPP) points out.
In the manic phases of bipolar disorder, sufferers are hyperactive, euphoric or agitated. The depressive phases are characterised by lethargy and feelings of hopelessness. Many people with bipolar disorder experience their first episode around the age of 18 but the illness is often diagnosed later, the SGPP noted.
One of the problems, it said, is that affected persons regard depressive phases as merely a bad mood or normal emotional low, and during manic phases they feel no distress and therefore no need to seek help.
What is more, the mood shifts may be months or even years apart, between which sufferers are largely symptom-free and have a stable mood.
It is important that someone suspected of having bipolar disorder see a medical specialist. The illness is associated with an elevated risk of suicide. The manic phases, in particular, are taxing on family members as some sufferers also show signs of psychosis, often boundless hubris.
Bipolar disorder can be controlled with medications and psychotherapy.