noted above and increase risk for mood episodes (Clark et al., 2002; Murphy et al., 2001,
1999; Swann et al., 2004).
6.3 Psychological benefits
It is important to note that not all psychological factors in ‘bipolar disorder’ involve a
deficit or cost. There are many positive psychological factors associated with a bipolar
diagnosis, for example increased creativity, sparks of inspiration, feelings of optimism,
increased motivation and productivity. Many people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder
are very creative and high achievers( Jamison et al., 1980; Johnson, 2005).
Bipolar experiences involve a mix of positive and negative psychological factors. The
extent to which these factors dominate or can be harnessed depends on the coping styles
used. Although some individuals with the diagnosis appear to adopt unhelpful coping
styles at times, at other times they appear to use more helpful coping approaches as well.
Effective coping styles may involve learning to recognise triggers or early warning signs
such as sleep changes or increased agitation. Psychological therapies can help individuals
enhance their use of these helpful approaches and reduce the dominance of the
ruminative or risk taking styles discussed earlier.
A person’s experience and behaviour is never influenced purely by one factor. Any
experience involves an interaction of biological, psychological and social factors. There is a
reciprocal relationship between each of these factors and the exact nature of these
relationships will be unique to each individual.