Browse all modules

Bipolar disorder: Primary health management

CPD Hours



All Modules
Mental health


Bipolar disorders are recurrent, chronic mood disorders characterised by periods of elevated mood and periods of depression that affect about 1% of Australians.
There are several types (bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorders) and presentations (for example, mixed episodes, rapid cycling).

Early diagnosis is difficult, and misdiagnosis is common, which can result in suboptimal management and adverse outcomes for the patient.

Effective management of bipolar disorders in adults requires treatment of acute episodes and ongoing relapse prevention, which is also referred as prophylaxis.
Individualised long-term management plans include prophylactic medication, psychosocial therapies, risk management, and careful monitoring for treatment-related complications. Management usually occurs in a shared-care arrangement between primary health care and specialist mental health services.

This module is designed for nurses. The therapeutic relationship that nurses develop with their patients means they are ideally placed to detect or suspect a bipolar disorder.

There are 3 modules in this course.  

Module 1, covers the various types, presentations, and components of bipolar disease, and the assessment required for diagnosis in adults.

This module, Module 2 covers the management of bipolar disorders in adults and is designed for nurses.

The last and third module discusses the characteristics of the pharmacological treatment used in bipolar disorders in adults.

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • By the end of this module, participants will be able to
  • Discuss the complexities of managing bipolar disorder.
  • Identify medications suitable for acute manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorders.
  • Identify medications suitable for prophylaxis of bipolar disorders.
  • Explain the use of adjunct therapies in the management of bipolar disorders.

Other modules to explore