Bipolar Disorder and Suicide

What is bipolar disorder?

Everyone experiences emotions like anger, sadness, and happiness. For most of us, these emotions come and go and are manageable.


People with bipolar disorder experience intense emotional states they find hard to control. They can go from periods of deep sadness to periods of extreme happiness. Their emotions can become so overwhelming that they affect the person’s ability to interact with others, attend school, and meet their goals.

How to recognize bipolar disorder?

People with bipolar disorder undergo dramatic mood swings called episodes. These episodes can be manic or depressive.

How to recognize a manic episode

A person experiencing several of the following symptoms continually for a week may be having a manic episode:

  • Feeling excessively happy or irritable
  • Feeling hyperactive
  • Having delusions of grandeur, feeling invincible
  • Talking fast, constantly interrupting other people
  • Participating briefly in multiple professional, social, or family activities
  • Feeling less need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Engaging in risky behaviour (excessive spending, unprotected sex, risky financial investments)
  • Jumping from topic to topic, difficulty focusing on a single topic

How to recognize a depressive episode

A person who experiences several of the following symptoms for at least two weeks may be having a depressive episode:

  • Lack of energy or excitement
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight management problems
  • Feelings of deep sadness
  • Lack of interest in favourite activities
  • Frequent feelings of guilt or sense of failure
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death
  • Suicidal thoughts

Do you have bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts?

People with bipolar disorder may have suicidal thoughts. If this is the case for you, consult the following sections:

01 Taking stock of your mental health

The first step toward taking back control is identifying what’s causing your suicidal thoughts.

02 Taking care of yourself

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and regain your balance when you’re having suicidal thoughts.

03 Talking about it with your loved ones

Asking for help from your family and friends isn’t always easy. There are different ways of going about it.

04 Finding support services

Every day, all sorts of people contact support services to get the help they need.

What to do if you have bipolar disorder

The symptoms associated with bipolar disorder can be treated. If you have symptoms indicating that you might have bipolar disorder, first call Info-Social at 811, option 2, to discuss your situation with a psychosocial worker and be referred, if necessary, to resources in your area that can provide support.

For an assessment and follow-up with a healthcare professional, consult a general practitioner (your family doctor, for example), a psychologist or contact your local CLSC.

Other resources can help people with bipolar disorder.


Advice for people with bipolar disorder

What I'm going through...