Michael, 29, from Cheshire was diagnosed with ADHD as a teenager due to his noticeable mood swings. It wasn’t until he experienced severe highs when travelling that his diagnosis was reconsidered. A spell in hospital led to the confirmation of bipolar disorder, which was followed by a year of face-to-face therapy sessions.
These sessions helped Michael manage the impact his moods had on his life. Since his treatment, research into web therapy has begun at Lancaster University which may hold the key to ensuring he doesn’t relapse.
What is bipolar disorder?
Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder causes severe mood swings that can last several months. These moods can include:
- Low moods – feelings of intense depression and despair.
- High or ‘manic’ moods – feelings of over-activity, extreme joy and a loss of inhibitions.
- Mixed moods – feeling depressed with a low mood combined with the restlessness of a manic mood.
Prof Steve Jones led the study into web therapy in a bid to provide bipolar sufferers with an alternative to face-to-face sessions, which few people actually access.
The trial consisted of 100 people with the disorder, half of whom were asked to use the interactive web tool. This tool provided participants with information about the disorder, including strategies to help improve their mood and live with the disorder, day to day. The results revealed a significant increase in participants’ self-reported recovery, with many people saying they felt more optimistic and positive.
Michael said having access to this kind of information has been invaluable as he is able to tailor it to his own needs. He has also passed this information on to his family so they better understand his daily battle with his moods.
If you are suffering from bipolar disorder, having an initial consultation with a counsellor could help you come to terms with your condition and may help you devise ways to manage your condition from home. For more information and to find a counsellor near you, please see our Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression page.
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