Bipolar Disorder: Key Facts

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which your mood can swing very high, or very low, for weeks or months. It used to be called Manic Depression.

Your mood can be:

  • low with intense depression and despair 
  • high or ‘manic’ with elation, over-activity or anger
  • a ‘mixed state’ with symptoms of depression and mania.

Bipolar disorder is less common than depression. It affects about 1 person in a 100.

What causes bipolar disorder?

  • It seems to run in families, so genes are involved. Genetic causes are less common in the elderly.
  • There may be a physical problem with the brain systems which control mood.
  • Stress can trigger episodes.

How does it feel to have bipolar disorder?

 DepressionMania
  Feelings of unhappiness that don’t go awayAgitation and restlessnessLoss of self-confidenceFeeling useless, inadequate and hopelessThoughts of suicideNot able to think positively or hopefullyCan’t make decisionsCan’t concentrate, lose interestCan’t eat, lose weightCan’t sleep properly, wake early in the morningGo off sexAvoid other people  Very happy and excitedFeel more important than usualFull of new and exciting ideasMove quickly from one idea to anotherFull of energyDon’t want to sleepMore interested in sexMake unrealistic plansVery overactive, talking quicklyIrritable with other people who can’t go along with your mood and ideasSpending more moneyLose insight and be unaware of how ‘unwell’ you are

In a severe mood swing, you can have psychotic symptoms. 

  • When depressed, you may believe that you are evil or guilty, that you are worse than anybody else, or even that you don’t exist.
  • When manic, you may feel that you are on an important mission or that you have special powers and abilities.
  • You might also experience hallucinations – when you hear or see something that isn’t there.  

Treatment

  • Treating a highlithium, antipsychotics and sodium valproate are the medications most commonly used. Sodium valproate should not be prescribed to women of child-bearing age.
  • Treating depressionantidepressants should be used carefully as they can make people go high. It’s best to stop them as soon as the depression goes away.
  • Psychological treatments: these can also help. Methods include:
    • psycho-education: learning about the condition and how to control it
    • mood monitoring: you learn to notice when your mood is starting to change

Self help

  • Learn to spot the early warning signs so you can get help early.
  • Find out as much as you can about bipolar disorder.
  • Be aware of how stress affects you.
  • Have at least one person that you can rely on and confide in – someone who can warn you if you think you are not well.
  • Balance your life and work, leisure, and relationships.
  • Do things that you enjoy and that give your life meaning.
  • Don’t stop medication suddenly.
  • You may find it useful to keep a diary to record your daily mood.
  • You may want to write an ‘advance directive’ with your doctor and family to say how you want to be treated if you become unwell again.
  • Try to eat a healthy diet and to sleep well.
  • If you drink alcohol, stick to the safe limits. 

Helping someone else

  • When someone is depressed, it can be difficult to know what to say. They see everything in a negative light. Listen and try to be patient and understanding. 
  • During mania, the person will appear to be happy, energetic and outgoing. But the excitement of any social situations will risk sending their mood even higher and their doing things that are out of character for them. Try to steer them away from parties or heated discussions. Persuade them to get help.
  • In between mood episodes, find out more about the condition. Go to appointments with them (if they are willing). Make sure you give yourself space and time to recharge your batteries.

How and where to seek help in the Maldives?

If you’re concerned about your mental health, please consultant a doctor or your primary health care worker. A doctor or a primary health care worker could recommend a consultation with a psychiatrist should you require one.

Psychiatric consultations are available at:

  • Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Kan’baa Aisaa Rani Hingun, Male’,  Maldives

Telephone: 333 5335

Email: info@igmh.gov.mv

Website: http://www.igmh.gov.mv

  • Psychiatrists are also available at some regional hospitals in the Maldives though this may vary in availability and thus their details are not included in this list as these are not permanent posts.

For any reason, should you wish to seek private psychiatric consultations, they are available at:

  • ADK Hospital, Sosun Magu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 3313553

Email: info@adkenterprises.com

Website: http://www.adkhospital.mv

  • Medica Hospital, Faamudheyri Magu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 3002255/3002203

Email: info@medica.com.mv

Website: http://www.medica.com.mv

  • Family Care Clinic and Scan Centre, H. Azum, Ameenee Magu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 3300767

  • Advanced Medical Clinic, G. Rocketge, Lonuziyaaraiy Magu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 3007788, Email: advancemedical2012@gmail.com

Talking/psychological therapies in the Maldives:

Free counselling services including face to face and telephone counselling services are available at:

  • Society for Health Education (SHE):

Psychosocial Counselling Services, SHE, M. Kulunu Vehi, Buruzu Magu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 3318804/ 7976325

Email: counselling@she.org.mv

Website: http://she.org.mv

For any reason, should you wish to seek private psychological therapy provided by clinical psychologists and/or counsellors, they are available at:

  • Maldives Institute of Psychological Services, Training and Research (MIPSTAR)

Ma. Kinaara House, Iskandharu Magu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 7442626,

Email: info@mipstar.org

Website: http://mipstar.org

  • Lifeline Multispeciality Clinics, M.Chambeyleege, Shaariuvarudhee Magu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 3304740

  • Alive Medicals, Sandhubaraka Goalhi, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 7738633

  • Primax Medi-care, Carnation Magu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 3330511

  • Institute of Mental Well-Being, Ma Noomas (1st Floor), Chaandhaneemagu, Male’, Maldives

Telephone: 3337892/ 7897892

If you feel this list of where to seek help in the Maldives for mental health is inaccurate or incomplete, or if you are a new institution providing any of the above services, do kindly inform us at admin@mhafmaldives.org and we can confirm and make the necessary amendments.

This leaflet is based on material produced by the Royal College of

Psychiatrists (www.rcpsych.ac.uk/info). © April 2015

The Royal College of Psychiatrists. Reproduced by permission.

MHAF would like to thank the Royal College of Psychiatrists, United Kingdom, for kindly granting permission to use this leaflet based on material produced by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (www.rcpsych.ac.uk/info). © April 2015