Bi Polar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mood disorder characterised by swings in an individual's mood from high to low - Euphoric to depressed.

When an individual with bipolar is experiencing a high phase (Hypomania), they may present with a huge amount of energy and feel the little need for sleep or rest. During these high phases individuals may also think and talk a lot faster than usual, and their thoughts may jump rapidly from one subject to another. In more severe cases, individuals may also believe they have magnificent ideas or delusions about their abilities and powers. For example they may leave their job, spend money they don't have, or give away all their possessions.

During a low phase (depression) individuals with bipolar have feelings of hopelessness, desperation and feeling of sloth. They may also begin to self-blame or self-doubt and have difficulties concentrating. As a result, this can make it difficult for them to cope with everyday life, and again in more severe cases result in them becoming withdrawn and have feelings of suicide.

Bipolar disorder causes shifts in an individual's mood, energy and ability to function independently. Symptoms of bipolar are severe and differ from the normal ups and downs everybody experiences from time to time. The condition bipolar disorder is manageable and individuals diagnosed can lead a full and productive lifestyle. However, symptoms of bipolar can become so severe that they begin to impact greatly on how an individual functions at home, work and social outings.

Our Occupational Therapists can support individuals in the development of self-management strategies. We are dedicated to empowering individuals and enabling them to live their life to the fullest. There is no current cure for bipolar disorder, however proper treatment helps most individuals with bipolar disorder gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms. Because bipolar is a lifelong illness, individuals with the disorder need long-term treatment. Our Occupational Therapists are highly experienced and can provide effective treatments to those with bipolar disorder, allowing them to lead a full and productive life.

Problems associated with Bipolar Disorder

The pattern of moods swings in bipolar disorder varies greatly between each and every individual diagnosed. These mood swings can impact greatly on an individual's abilities to complete the following day to day activities:

  • Washing
  • Dressing
  • Driving
  • Work activities
  • Sleeping
  • Leisure activities
  • Social activities
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning

Our Occupational Therapists can identify the difficulties an individual experiences on a day to day basis for example, getting dressed or going the shops, and will help provide practical solutions. Our Occupational Therapists will work with individuals and identify meaning and purposeful goals that can help them maintain, regain or improve their independence by using different techniques, changing their environment and using new equipment.

After identifying the difficulties experienced by the individuals, our Occupational Therapists can help by:

  • Practicing activities in manageable stages.
  • Teaching individuals how to grade activities appropriately.
  • Recommend changes, to make activities easier to complete.
  • Provide aids to help individual's complete daily activities successfully.

The aim of these modifications is to allow individuals with bipolar to maintain and improve their abilities to complete everyday tasks, and increase their overall life satisfaction.

How can these difficulties impact on function?

Bipolar disorder is a life-long illness which requires on-going treatment to prevent recurrence and reduce the loss of productivity. Beneath is a summary of how bipolar disorder can affect the different aspects of an individual's life:


  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Difficulties washing and dressing independently
  • Difficulties cleaning
  • Difficulties cooking
  • Difficulties getting up in the mornings


  • Stigma
  • Completing social activities
  • Participating in leisure activities
  • Feelings of depression and stress


  • Organisational difficulties
  • Reduced motivation
  • Feelings of stress
  • Work pressures

What exactly is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a serious mood disorder/metal illness, one that can lead to risky behaviours, damaged relationships and careers and even suicidal tendencies if not treated. Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme changes in mood patterns form periods of mania or hypomania to depression and missed episodes.

Bipolar disorder affects around 2 million people in any given year. Both genders are affected at the rate. The cause of bipolar is not entirely known, but it is believed that genetic, neurochemical and environmental factors play a large role in the onset and progression of bipolar disorder.

It is suggested that the average age for the onset of bipolar disorder is during the early 20s, however there are reports that suggest the disorder beginning diagnosed as early as primary school age. It is believed that symptoms appear before the age of 20 in around 20% of manic individuals.

Younger individuals do however suffer a condition known as Cyclothymia first. This is characterised by hypomanic and mild depressive episodes, and is a less intense disorder. However, almost half of those diagnosedCyclothymiaprogress to having full manic episodes and later receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Occupational Therapy assessments suitable for Bipolar Disorder

All Our Occupational Therapists are highly experienced and can complete comprehensive assessments for those with bipolar disorder. These assessment allow our Occupational Therapists to gather the relevant information needed to develop appropriate treatment plans. Assessments suitable for those with bipolar disorder include the following:

  • Cognitive assessments
  • Functional assessment
  • Activities of daily living assessments
  • Aids and adaptations assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Workplace assessment

Our Occupational Therapists are also highly experienced in carrying out non-standardised assessment such as, observing individuals completing a task, or interviewing the individual and their family members. By doing both standardised and non-standardised assessments ensures information gathered is pure and accurate, enabling our treatment plans be truly effective, meeting the needs of each and every individual we treat.

Occupational therapy treatment available

Our Occupational Therapy treatments aim to develop, recover, or maintain daily living skills and work skills in those with bipolar disorder. Our Occupational Therapy is client-centred and places a premium on the progress of individual's . Our treatments for individuals with Bipolar disorder aim to not only increase their life satisfaction but also:

  • Functional independence
  • Social interaction
  • Increase safety
  • Improve self-care
  • Money management skills
  • Mood management abilities

Our Occupational Therapy treatments have been shown to be extremely effective with a growing body of evidence to support this. Our treatments are very flexible and can be made to suit each and every individual. Treatments here can be carried out on an individual basis or in a group, with the option to be conducted here in one of our clinics or in the comfort of your own home.


Living with a long-term condition such as bipolar disorder can be extremely challenging for both the individual and their family members. Our Occupational Therapists are highly experienced and can work with both individuals and families to create an effective treatment plan to enhance the life of those with the disorder and those surrounding them. Our Occupational Therapy can make a real difference to the lives of those with bipolar, while doctors prescribe medication to stabilised mood swings, our Occupational Therapy will educate individuals enabling then to deal with their mood disorder effectively, increasing their self-worth and self-confidence. We are the profession which opens new horizons.

How to arrange to see an occupational therapist?

Think you could benefit from one of our Occupational Therapy assessments then please feel free to email us with any of your enquires at or Call us on 02033 937 332



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

We Work With