Bipolar disorder describes a more serious mental health condition where mood becomes unstable and affects the person’s ability to function. About 1% of our community has this condition and it affects equal numbers of men and women. Bipolar disorder and depression tend to run in families. Bipolar disorder has some additional symptoms apart from depression. A person with bipolar will have days or weeks of depression (low mood) and at other times will have days or weeks of high energy. This high energy is often a positive experience for the person but may lead to difficulties in relationships. The high energy state often leads to sleeping less than 5 hours a night for a period longer than a week. Sometimes those with bipolar may only sleep 1-3 hours and feel rested.
In Australia it takes an average of 10 years after the first episode for an individual to be diagnosed with this condition. In part this is because of lack of awareness in the communityabout the disorder. Often those with bipolar have had very successful lives with times of depression versus creativity.
Treatment usually involves counselling to improve social supports and medication for helping with mood. Social support is very important and structuring a healthy routine can decrease the impact of episodes and improve functioning in the long term. One of the most effective treatments for bipolar is Interpersonal Social Rhythms Therapy (IPSRT) or therapies that focus on family functioning and psychoeducation.
Vivian Jarrett Psychologist has a special interest in bipolar disorder and can provide IPRST or family therapy for those affected. Usually family members participate in some of the sessions (if requested) and enhancing social support forms part of the counselling process.
Vivian’s books are closed for the foreseeable future due to other business commitments. However, for details of speaking fees and availability for your next conference or business event across Australia or internationally, please submit your enquiry here.