EVERYONE has ups and downs in their moods. But if your mood swings from depressive to manic, and then manic to depressive, then you might have a Bipolar Affective Disorder. Usually this lasts for days, weeks or months and affects one’s daily tasks due to intense emotions.

Bipolar Affective Disorder or B.A.D. (also known as manic depressive) is a mental condition that causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior — from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other.

Recently, the PMHA (Philippine Mental Health Association) Bacolod-Negros Occidental Chapter, with the help of Astra Zeneca, organized a lecture-forum on Bipolar for its board of management, members, partners and family/relatives of our consumers at 21 Restaurant in Bacolod.

This talk was the third of Dr. Rico Angelo Gerona III’s lecture series for the group. The first two topics were Schizophrenia and Depression.

Gerona, one of PMHA Bacolod’s volunteer psychiatrists, shared the definition, the causes, symptoms, patterns and treatment of this mental condition.

He said that B.A.D. is often difficult to diagnose and typically manifests itself in adolescence or early adulthood. The pattern of the illness varies quite a bit. Men’s first episode tends to be mania, while women tend to have a depressed episode first. Mood changes may be mild or very severe.

He mentioned that no single cause has been identified in bipolar disorder. Research suggests it could be inherited and thought to have been caused by a lack of stability in the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain.

There are four symptoms of Bipolar Affective Disorder:


• increased energy and creativity, which easily escalates out of a person’s control

• denial that nothing is wrong

• angrily blames others for what is happening

• feeling unusually “high”

• needing little sleep

• talking very fast

• having racing thoughts

• being easily distracted

• having increased feelings of personal power and importance

• reckless behaviour and poor judgment


• Symptoms are slightly less severe, as is the person’s level of impairment


• Feeling sad

• Having too much sleep or too little sleep

• An increase or decrease in appetite and/or weight

• Problems with concentration

• Feeling slowed down or agitated

• Low self-esteem

• Decreased energy

• Increased fatigue

• Possibly thought of suicide or death


• Contains symptoms of both mania and depression

• May present as excitable and agitated as in mania, but feel irritable and depressed

Treatment of bipolar disorder occurs mainly in two phases:

Acute phase (may need hospitalization)

Preventive treatment (to avoid a relapse)

Medications include mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic and anti-depressants drugs.

Another extremely important part of therapy is good follow-up. This includes working with a doctor, taking their medication, monitor sleep and have support of family and friends.


PMHA Bacolod’s next lecture forum in partnership with L’ Fisher Hotel is on June 23 (Monday) at 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at La Proa 1. This is in line with the chapter’s 38th founding anniversary on June 25. The title of the lecture forum is, “SAD, MAD, GLAD: How Emotions Affect Children’s Behavior.”

Dr. Cornelio Banaag Jr., an internationally acclaimed child/adolescent/adult psychiatrist and PMHA national president, will be the resource speaker. Registration fees are: P500 (non-members), P400 (members) and P300 (students).

If you have questions about Bipolar Affective Disorder or about the seminar on June 23, contact the PMHA Office at 433-8868 or visit us at Cottage Road Bacolod City. You can also email PMHA at pmha_bacolod@yahoo.com.ph or this columnist at jet.octaviano@gmail.com