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People with Bipolar Disorder (also known as Manic Depression) experience episodes of high and low mood which disrupt their day-to-day life. The pattern of illness is different in each case; people may experience far more episodes of one mood extreme than the other, while the frequency of episodes is also very variable.

Even though this is an episodic illness in which people get better between episodes, research is starting to show that sufferers continue to have difficulties when in remission. The chronically disabling nature of the illness, together with the frequent difficulty in establishing the diagnosis at the outset, means that doctors must have a clear understanding of how to recognise and treat it.

Dr Roger Palmer Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Dean Wessex Deanery