During episodes of low mood, one may feel hopeless and have little interest or pleasure in activities. On the other hand, there can be a shift in mood to mania or hypomania (which is less extreme than mania), and one may experience euphoria, poor sleep and increased energy levels.
In Singapore, the lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder is 1.6%. Episodes of mood swings can occur multiple times a year. In between mood episodes, some people may experience some mild symptoms or no symptoms.
Mania and hypomania
Mania occurs when there is abnormally high or elated mood, together with increased energy levels that develop over a few days. These symptoms can be unpredictable and causes a disruption to day-to-day activities. Hypomania is a term used when the symptoms presented are not as severe or extreme as mania.
Other symptoms of mania or hypomania include:
The exact cause is unknown. However, genetic factors do play a part, and the risk of developing bipolar disorder is higher than average if other members of your family also have the condition. Other factors such as stressful situations, a traumatic life event, or imbalance of chemicals in the brain may also trigger an episode of mania or depression.
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, and the treatment you receive is directed at managing symptoms. The mainstay of treatment involves medication, which may include a mood stabiliser (such as lithium and sodium valproate), antipsychotic or antidepressant.
Non pharmacological therapy includes cognitive behavioural therapy, supportive therapy and psychoeducation.
Self-help tips for bipolar disorder