LIVING in such a hectic world, it's normal to experience both highs and low.

But how do you know when those mood changes are part and parcel of everyday life, or a sign of something more serious?


Nearly one in every 100 adults has bipolar disorder at some point in their life, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The often debilitating mental illness causes extreme mood swings from periods of hyperactivity and excited behaviour – known as mania – to deep depression.

Despite being so common, charity Bipolar UK estimates that around half a million Brits are living with undiagnosed bipolar.

In response, the charity has created an online test – which can help people identify if they might have the condition and get a quicker diagnosis.

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The test, which involves answering a set of mood-related questions, can be accessed online and can be used by anyone who doesn’t yet have a diagnosis, for free.

If your test results suggest you could have bipolar, you will be encouraged to download a "mood tracker app" which will monitor your moods, energy levels and sleep patterns over a week.

After this, you will be asked to make an appointment with a GP who can analyse your test results and refer you onto a specialist if necessary,

Speaking about the test, CEO of Bipolar UK, Simon Kitchen, said: “The symptoms of bipolar can appear at any age and it is common for people to experience distressing symptoms for years before receiving a correct diagnosis.

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“By getting people who are struggling with their mental health to ask the question ‘could it be bipolar?’ we are supporting them to take the first step on the journey to diagnosis so they can get the treatment and support to live well.

He added: “The new digital platform will also help family and friends to understand how best to support someone who’s wondering if they might have bipolar.”

What is it like to live with bipolar disorder?

American actress Ricki Lake posted an emotional announcement in February 2017 that her ex-husband Christian Evans had died citing his “struggle with bipolar disorder”.

What are the symptoms of bipolar?

The symptoms can vary depending on what mood the sufferer is currently going through.

Each episode, either of mania or depression, can last for a few weeks or months.

Symptoms during the depression period include:

  • Lacking energy
  • Feeling sad or irritable most of the time
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Self-doubt
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts

Symptoms during the mania period include:

  • Experiencing high levels of energy
  • Not wanting to sleep
  • Getting easily distracted
  • Feeling extremely happy or elated
  • Having delusional thoughts
  • Making impulsive decisions such as spending large sums of money
  • Saying things that are out of character
  • Feeling self-important

Bipolar is a condition of extremes, and sometimes the sufferer may not realise they are in the manic phase and can be shocked at their behaviour afterwards.

During their manic phase they may get irritable at other people trying to help, believing them to be negative.

The frequency of episodes can vary depending on the sufferer, with some getting jobs or having functional relationships.

There is also an increased chance of suicide.

Some people are able to manage bipolar well through their medication.

Kerry Katona recently explained that she's been well enough to come off her medication.

Over the years numerous celebrities have come forward and admitted they suffer from the condition.

Billionaire Elon Musk is one of the many famous faces opening up about the condition.

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The entrepreneur revealed on Twitter that he experiences “great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress”.

And when asked if he suffers from bipolar, he said “yes” although clarified he has not been medically diagnosed.

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