This page provides you with information about bipolar disorder. 

 

The psychiatric services in Central Denmark Region treat bipolar disorder in these teams:

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is characterised in the individual experiencing delimited periods of:

  • Mania
  • Hypomania (mild form of mania)
  • Depression
  • or a mixed state (a state in which symptoms of mania or depression occur concurrently or quickly right after each other).

In between the periods of illness, the bipolar disorder sufferer will typically have stable periods in which he or she notices no or only light signs of illness.

When I am manic, I’m completely different to how I am normally. I don’t need any sleep at all. I feel I’m the most important person in the world, and all my ideas are brilliant. I drive much too fast in traffic, go out in the evening and flirt with all the women I meet. I become very irritated if anyone tries to put the brakes on me. I get ideas about starting up several companies at the same time and I think nothing can stop me.
Christian, 30

Why do some people get bipolar disorder?

Inheritance is of great significance in bipolar disorder. You cannot inherit the disease itself, but a vulnerability that means that you may perhaps develop the disease at some point.

Other conditions, such as various types of strain and/or stress, are also of importance to whether you develop the disease.

The greater the susceptibility you have inherited, the less strain it takes to trigger an episode of illness.

  • The risk of developing bipolar disorder increases by 10% if your parents or siblings have the disease.
  • The risk of developing bipolar disorder increases by 70-80% if your identical twin has the disease.

Symptoms

When I’m in a mixed state, I tend to wake up full of energy at 5 am. I have many and quick thoughts. I usually phone lots of my female friends to arrange to meet up over the next few days and I tell them everything is great. Around midday, everything suddenly changes. I get sad and my thoughts are suddenly slow. I can’t cope with anything else and I have the urge to run away from everything. I can’t face the arrangements I’ve made at all, and I have to call and cancel everything.
Woman with mixed state

Examination for bipolar disorder

Course of the illness

 

 

Concomitant disorders

Treatment for bipolar disorder

Gravid kvinde bipolar

Listen to the podcast 'Mødregruppen' (The Mothers’ Group) - in Danish only

In the podcast ‘Mødregruppen’, Nanna, who has a bipolar disorder, talks about her pregnancy, childbirth and life as a parent. The podcast was produced by the psychiatric services in Central Denmark Region in 2020. Listen here:

. #2: Mødregruppen (podbean.com)

Forms of treatment

Medication plays an essential part in both the acute phase and in preventive treatment.

ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) is sometimes used in the acute treatment – especially in severe depressions or severe mixed states. Read about treatment with ECT

TMS/Transcranial magnetic stimulation can be used against depression in patients who have not had mania.

 

Read about treatment with TMS at Afdeling for Depression og Angst (the Department for Depression and Anxiety Disorders)

Read about treatment with TMS in Regionspsykiatrien Midt (Regional Mental Health Services Central Denmark Region)

Read about treatment with TMS in Regionspsykiatrien Vest (Regional Mental Health Services West)

 

If you are in a fairly stable phase, it is often a good idea to combine medication with various types of counselling therapy and psychoeducation.

Psychoeducation is a type of dialogue-based teaching about the disease and its treatment.

In cases in which you have another concurrent mental disorder, it will often be necessary to treat this disorder once your bipolar disorder has been sufficiently stabilised.

 

 

 

Advice for people with bipolar disorder

Advice for relatives

Text on this page updated in November 2021.

Most recently revised by: Maike Andreasen, Consultant, Department of Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry.