Bipolar disorder can start for the first time after childbirth.
- It is more common than once thought.
- There are several types.
- At least 2% of the population suffer from bipolar disorder.
- A recent study also found that a further 2.4% suffered from a spectrum of bipolar-type mood disorders.
Bi – means two.
Polar – is like the North and South poles which are at the opposite ends of the earth, it’s like the opposite extremes of something.
Bipolar mood disorder is when a person suffers from an episode of either mania or hypomania (see below).
If they have had one or more of these episodes it is called bipolar disorder (even though it might only be the manic pole that is evident).
Usually depressive episodes also occur, hence the two poles: mania/hypomania and depression.
For 75% of women, their first episode is a depression so at this stage they (and their treating doctor) don’t know if it is what we call unipolar depression or whether it might be the first sign of bipolar disorder. (However there are some clues – see Depression below).
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