Have You Been Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar?

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterised by episodes of mania and depression. People with bipolar disorder experience intense mood swings that can affect their behaviour, thinking, and daily functioning.

During manic episodes, people with bipolar disorder may feel excessively elated, energetic, or irritable and engage in impulsive or risky behaviour such as spending sprees, reckless driving, or substance abuse. They may also experience racing thoughts, increased talkativeness, and decreased need for sleep.

During depressive episodes, people with bipolar disorder may feel sad, hopeless, or worthless and have difficulty concentrating, sleeping, and eating. They may also lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and have thoughts of suicide.

Bipolar Statistics in Australia

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the prevalence of bipolar disorder in Australia is estimated to be around 1.4% of the population aged 16-85 years old. This means that around 280,000 Australians are affected by bipolar disorder in any given year.

Bipolar disorder affects men and women, with a slightly higher prevalence in women. It typically appears in late adolescence or early adulthood, although it can develop at any age.

It is important to note that these statistics are estimates based on surveys and may not reflect the full extent of bipolar disorder in Australia. Many people may not seek treatment or receive a formal diagnosis.

What are the Causes of Bipolar Disorder?

The exact causes of bipolar disorder are not fully understood, but research suggests that it is likely due to genetic, biological, and environmental factors.

Genetic Factors

Bipolar disorder tends to run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the condition. Studies have identified specific genes that may be associated with bipolar disorder.

Biological Factors

Research has found that specific brain structures and chemicals, such as the prefrontal cortex and neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, may play a role in bipolar disorder. Changes in the regulation of these brain chemicals can affect mood and behaviour.

Environmental Factors

Trauma, stress, and substance abuse can trigger or worsen symptoms of bipolar disorder. Sleep disturbances, such as jet lag or shift work, can also trigger mania or depression in some people.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders or neurological conditions, can also cause symptoms similar to bipolar disorder.

It is important to note that bipolar disorder is a complex condition, and the exact causes may vary from person to person. It is also possible that multiple factors may contribute to the development of the disorder. More research is needed to fully understand the causes of bipolar disorder.


Treatment Options

Bipolar disorder can be a lifelong condition and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life if left untreated. However, with proper treatment, many people with bipolar disorder can manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

It is typically treated with medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. The specific treatment plan will depend on the severity and type of symptoms, the individual’s medical history and personal preferences.


Mood stabilisers such as lithium, anticonvulsants like valproate, and atypical antipsychotics such as risperidone are commonly prescribed to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. These medications can help stabilise mood, reduce the severity and frequency of manic and depressive episodes, and prevent relapse.


Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy, can help individuals with bipolar disorder learn coping skills, manage stress, and improve their relationships. Family and group therapy can also help provide support and education for individuals and their loved ones.

Lifestyle Changes

Making specific lifestyle changes can also help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. This may include getting enough sleep, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol and drugs, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular physical activity.


It is also crucial for individuals with bipolar disorder to practice self-care, such as managing stress, practising relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, and avoiding triggers that can worsen symptoms.

It is important to work closely with a qualified healthcare professional to develop an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual’s specific needs and goals. With proper treatment, many people with bipolar disorder can manage their symptoms and lead productive and fulfilling lives.

How to Reduce Your Risks of Bipolar

While there is no surefire way to prevent bipolar disorder, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing the condition or to help manage your symptoms if you have already been diagnosed:

Get Treatment for other Mental Health Conditions

Anxiety, depression, and substance abuse are common risk factors for bipolar disorder. Treating these conditions promptly can help reduce your risk of developing bipolar disorder.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns can trigger episodes of mania or depression in people with bipolar disorder. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and other stimulants before bedtime, and creating a sleep-conducive environment is vital.

Manage Stress

Stressful life events, such as significant life changes, can trigger episodes of mania or depression in some people with bipolar disorder. Developing healthy coping strategies, such as meditation, exercise, or therapy, can help manage stress and reduce your risk of developing bipolar disorder.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

Substance abuse can increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or trigger episodes in people with the condition. It is important to avoid drugs and alcohol or seek treatment for substance abuse if necessary.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and avoiding smoking can also help reduce your risk of developing bipolar disorder.

It is important to note that while these steps can help reduce your risk of developing bipolar disorder, they are not a guarantee. If you are experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder or have concerns about your mental health, it is essential to seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.