Bipolar disorder: Factfile

Bipolar disorder has leapt into the headlines after Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones checked into a mental health clinic for treatment for the condition.

Zeta-Jones's representative said on Wednesday she was receiving therapy for "bipolar II," one of several categories for the disorder.

Following is a factfile:

- Previously known as manic depression, bipolar disorder describes mood swings that can range from very low (severe depression) to very high (severe mania). The swings may occur a few times a year or as often as several times a day.

- Between one and two percent of the general population may be afflicted, with men and women in equal numbers.

- In the "up" phase, symptoms may include euphoria, restlessness, gabbled speech, extreme irritability, lack of concentration, aggressive or risky behaviour, substance abuse and increased sexual drive.

- In the "down" phase, symptoms may include a feeling of emptiness or hopelessness, lack of self-worth, poor appetite, chronic fatigue, forgetfulness and suicidal thoughts.

- The disorder is divided into several subtypes, depending on the severity and frequency of the mood:

- Bipolar I: Characterised especially by severe manic episodes that can be dangerous and damage relationships or disrupt life at school or work.

- Bipolar II: A milder form in which mood swings are not so severe, nor is the impact on daily life. Instead of full-blown mania, the patient goes through episodes of "hypomania," which is not so extreme. Periods of depression typically last longer than spells of hypomania.

- Cyclothymia: Milder still than Bipolar I and II. Episodes of hypomania and depression whose highs and lows are less severe and less disruptive.

- Suspected causes of bipolar disorder include an imbalance in hormones or in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters; traumatic events or stress that trigger a bipolar episode; and genetic inheritance (studies have shown that the disorder is more common among people with a bipolar blood relative).

- Diagnosis of bipolar disorders is complex and sometimes may take years to pin down. Treatment often involves taking mood-changing drugs, supported by longer-term counselling by psychologists, social workers or psychiatric nurses.

- Famous people who may have been bipolar include Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Vincent Van Gogh, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Charles Baudelaire.

SOURCES: Mayo Clinic (MayoClinic.com); British mental health charity Mind (mind.org.uk); http://www.troubles-bipolaires.com/

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

    Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions