Beverly Callard is instantly recognisable as the face of Liz McDonald, the hapless heroine in Coronation Street. Liz has fought her fair share of battles over the years, with a string of failed marriages and long standing feuds. Unfortunately, Beverly’s life has not exactly provided a peaceful retreat from her character’s drama.
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Beverly lives with bipolar disorder, a mental health condition characterised by volatile mood swings.
Beverly’s longstanding battle with bipolar drove her to attempt suicide at one point.
Last year, Beverly provided an update on her mental health condition.
Speaking to the Daily Star Sunday, she revealed how medication helps to keep her symptoms at bay.
She said: “I’ll have to be medicated forever. I know I will have to take medication for the rest of my life. I am grateful it’s there.”
The Corrie star also gave an insight into how her mental health condition dictated her life: “It’s really weird, but when you’re in the depths of it you can’t talk about it. You can only talk about it when you’ve got better.
“So I wouldn’t be able to discuss anything if I wasn’t well. But once I’ve recovered I can try to champion the cause then to help people going through it.”
Bipolar symptoms – what to look for
According to the NHS, people with bipolar disorder have episodes of:
- Depression – feeling very low and lethargic
- Mania – feeling very high and overactive
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“Episodes of mania and depression often last for several weeks or months,” explains the health body.
As the health site points out, if you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more regularly than episodes of mania, or vice versa.
Between episodes of depression and mania, you may sometimes have periods where you have a “normal” mood, it notes.
The patterns are not always the same and some people may experience:
- Rapid cycling – where a person with bipolar disorder repeatedly swings from a high to a low phase quickly without having a “normal” period in between
- Mixed state – where a person with bipolar disorder experiences symptoms of depression and mania together; for example, overactivity with a depressed mood
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How to treat it
Treatment for bipolar disorder aims to reduce the severity and number of episodes of depression and mania to allow as normal a life as possible.
If a person is not treated, episodes of bipolar-related mania can last for between three and six months, warns the NHS.
As Beverly will attest to, medication is usually the most effective means of stabilising moods right away, says Mayo Clinic.
“Bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment with medications, even during periods when you feel better,” says the health body.
Other treatments include:
Learning to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or maniaPsychological treatment – such as talking therapies, which help you deal with depression and provide advice on how to improve relationshipsLifestyle advice – such as doing regular exercise, planning activities you enjoy that give you a sense of achievement, and advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep
“Most people with bipolar disorder can receive most of their treatment without having to stay in hospital,” according to the NHS.
The health site continues: “But hospital treatment may be needed if your symptoms are severe or you’re being treated under the Mental Health Act, as there’s a danger you may self-harm or hurt others.
“In some circumstances, you could have treatment in a day hospital and return home at night.”
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