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Understanding NICE guidance
Information for people who use NHS services

Bipolar disorder
This booklet is about the care and treatment of people with bipolar
disorder in the NHS in England and Wales. It explains guidance (advice)
NICE `clinical from NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). It is…

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Your care 3
Bipolar disorder 4
What should happen when I am first diagnosed? 4
What support can I expect from healthcare professionals? 5
Who can I expect to treat me? 6
What treatments are helpful for people with bipolar disorder? 6
Can I expect treatment in the long-term?…

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Your care
Your treatment and care should take into account your personal needs
and preferences, and you have the right to be fully informed and to make
decisions in partnership with your healthcare team. To help with this, your
healthcare team should give you information you can understand and that…

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Bipolar disorder
People with bipolar disorder have periods (or `episodes') of what is called
`mania' and periods of `depression'. For this reason, it was once known
as `manic depression'. It can affect people of any age, from children to
older adults (people over 65).
During a manic episode, people usually…

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Questions you could ask healthcare professionals
about bipolar disorder
· What makes you think I have bipolar disorder?
· What do you think causes bipolar disorder?
· Are all of my symptoms caused by bipolar disorder?
· How might bipolar disorder affect my everyday life and what
might it mean…

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Who can I expect to treat me?
Most people with bipolar disorder receive most of their treatment from a
psychiatrist and other specialist mental health professionals, although your
GP will also play an important part in your treatment.
If your GP is or has been responsible for your treatment for…

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If you are a woman at an age where you could get pregnant, your doctor
should talk to you about the risks involved and about contraception (see
the section 'Special issues for women who are pregnant or planning
a pregnancy', page 19).
If you have had a manic episode or…

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Treatments for episodes of mania or hypomania
If you are taking an antidepressant at the time that a manic episode
starts, your doctor should stop the medication.
The main drugs used to treat mania are summarised in the tables below.
If you are not already taking a drug for mania…

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Healthcare professionals may give you advice about coping with manic
feelings. This may include avoiding situations that make you over-excited;
doing things that help you to feel calm; and getting into a good routine,
especially making sure you regularly get enough sleep.

Treatments for depression
If you develop depression when…

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What you should know about antidepressants
If you are offered an antidepressant, you should be given full information
about it, including how long it takes to work, the importance of taking
the medication as advised, any side effects and advice on what to do if
you have them. You and…


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