Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition which can affect thinking, energy, feelings and behaviour. Bipolar disorder can have a profound impact on every aspect of a person’s life, affecting their relationships, family and work life.

45,000 or 1 in 100 people have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in Ireland. A correct diagnosis is essential for successful treatment.

It is characterised by periods of low (depressed) or high (elated) mood separated by periods of normal mood. One can lead a healthy and productive life once the illness is effectively treated.

How does it affect me?

Bipolar disorder usually involves two phases. If five or more of the below symptoms are present for a period of two weeks or more Aware recommends that you speak to your GP or mental health professional.

A depression phase:
An elation phase:

What can I do?

If you think you have bipolar disorder, Aware recommends that you speak to your GP or mental health professional in order to get a correct diagnosis and decide on the most appropriate treatment plan for you. 

If you believe a loved one may be experiencing depression, we suggest you access our information specifically for relatives here.

Dr Lisa Lawless discusses how you prepare for your consultation, questions to ask your GP, what your GP can do for you, options for treatment/referral and how you can help yourself.

Learning to cope with bipolar disorder

The most important thing to do is speak to a doctor or mental health professional in order to get a correct diagnosis. To find a GP in your area, contact the Irish College of General Practitioners on 01 676 3705.

Talking through concerns with someone who understands can also be a help, Aware has a number of free services that offer support and information, find out more here.

Talks on bipolar disorder

Rick and Sinead are both talking on the Pat Kenny show about their own personal experience and journey with bipolar disorder. They are joined by Dr Declan Lyons (Aware Clinical Committee) who is speaking from his clinical experience of the condition, how we come to find a diagnosis and working towards managing the condition.

Dr Patrick McKeon, Consultant Psychiatrist, St. Patrick’s University Hospital provides an informative lecture about understanding bipolar disorder, the signs and symptoms, the causes, the impact on people’s lives, treatment & the skills needed for staying well.

Dr McKeon explores "Bipolar Disorder: what it is and what to do". How it can be recognised? Why a diagnosis of Bipolar disorder is sometimes missed? The purpose and type of medication prescribed to treat Bipolar disorder and lifestyle management at a practical everyday level.

Breda Dooley, Psychologist, talks about how to support a person with depression or bipolar disorder.

Dr Patrick McKeon, Consultant Psychiatrist, St. Patrick’s University Hospital discusses how you prevent relapse from bipolar disorder.

Dr Dara Cannon, BSc, HDip, Phd, discusses how brain imaging can help further research into Bipolar Disorder.


If you would like to do some further reading, please see Aware's Recommended Reading List.


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