This page provides you with information about bipolar disorder. 


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

- AUH Psychiatry in Skejby: Klinik for Bipolar Sygdom (Clinic for Bipolar Disease)

- Regional Mental Health Services Horsens: Team for mani og depression, Psykiatrisk Klinik 2 (Mania and Depression Team, Psychiatric Clinic 2)

- Regional Mental Health Services Central Denmark Region: Team for affektive lidelser (Team for Affective Disorders) in Viborg and Team for Depression og Mani (Team for Depression and Mania) in Silkeborg

- Regional Mental Health Services Randers: Psykiatrisk Klinik 1 (Psychiatric Clinic 1) in Randers and Psykiatrisk Klinik, Rønde (Psychiatric Clinic, Rønde)

- Regional Mental Health Services Gødstrup: Team for Affektive Lidelser (Team for Affective Disorders)

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.

Facts on bipolar disorder

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.

What can trigger an episode of illness?


Unnatural energy and mood swings




Mixed state

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

You need to talk to a doctor or a psychologist specialising in psychiatry

Examination for other diseases

Bipolar disorder or single episode?


Course of the illness

The course of illness varies from person to person

Stable periods

After episodes of illness




Concomitant disorders

Other mental disorders

Treatment for bipolar disorder

Why treat bipolar disorder?

How is bipolar disease treated?

Treatment with or without hospitalisation


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 (

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.




Medication for bipolar disorder

Preventive treatment with medication

About accepting the need for medication


Supportive counselling and psychotherapy

Advice for people with bipolar disorder

What can you do to help yourself if you have bipolar disorder?

Learn about your disorder

Counter your symptoms of depression

Consider pros and cons when you get new ideas

Know your own limits and demand less of yourself

Follow your pharmacological treatment in a dialogue with your therapist

Establish a stable daily rhythm, eat healthily and get some exercise

Be cautious with stimulants

Be open about your disorder, when appropriate

Advice for relatives

What can relatives do?

What can relatives do in acute situations?

How can relatives provide support in connection with depression and suicidal thoughts?

How can relatives provide support in connection with hypomania and mania?

Adjusting expectations

What can you as a relative do for yourself?

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.