Understanding mental health: Conditions, caring and contexts – Bipolar disorder, Daniel J. Smith

Bipolar disorder is a complex psychiatric disorder of mood and behaviour that has been recognised for thousands of years. It probably affects about 1 in 50 individuals worldwide and is characterised by episodes of depression alternating with episodes of mania. In this podcast we discuss the presentation, diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. We highlight the strengths and limitations of current diagnostic classifications and we consider the need for a multidisciplinary treatment approach that integrates medications (such as lithium) with psychosocial approaches (such as group psychoeducation). We also consider the intriguing link between bipolar disorder and creativity and we conclude with an optimistic discussion of latest research in the field and how this will ultimately lead to improved diagnosis and new treatments in the future.

Daniel J. Smith is Professor of Psychiatry, University of Glasgow.

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