Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental illness characterized by wide mood swings from mania to depression. The person may be affected so much that he or she experiences the symptoms of psychosis, and is unable to distinguish what is real.

People with bipolar can become over excited and reckless. They can also experience feeling extremely low, helpless and depressed. Some people experience mainly one or the other, whilst other people experience both moods. The mood swings may be followed by irrational or risky behaviour.

Despite extensive investigation, the exact cause of bipolar disorder is still not known. Scientists have discovered a genetic predisposition to the disease, so hereditary and other factors are likely to be part of the cause.

Programming Considerations

  • Encourage participation but do not push.
  • Break tasks up into small, manageable pieces.

Strategies for Inclusion

  • May need to start activity individually and work towards a group situation.

Behaviour Management Issues

  • Be reassuring and keep the motivation in short bursts to build concentration.
  • Treat any threats of self injurious behaviour as serious.