Bipolar Disorder And What Symptoms To Look For
What is bipolar disorder? Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression; it is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior.
People with bipolar disorder can have periods of feeling overly happy and energized and other periods of feeling very sad, hopeless, and sluggish. In between those periods, they usually feel normal. The word manic describes when someone with bipolar disorder feels overly excited and confident. These feelings can also involve irritability and impulsive or reckless decision-making. About half of people during their mania can also have delusions (believing things that aren’t true and that they can’t be talked out of) or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there).
Bipolar Disorder Types
There are a few types of bipolar disorders, here are a few types:
Bipolar I disorder: With this type, you have extreme erratic behavior, with manic “up” periods that last at least a week or are so severe that you need medical care. The extreme “down” periods last at least 2 weeks.
Bipolar II disorder: With this type, you also have erratic highs and lows, but it isn’t as extreme as bipolar I.
Cyclothymic disorder: This type involves periods of manic and depressive behavior that last at least 2 years in adults or 1 year in children and teens. The symptoms are not as severe as bipolar disorder I or bipolar disorder II.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
In bipolar disorder, the dramatic episodes of high and low moods do not follow a set pattern. How severe it gets differs from person to person and can also change over time, becoming more or less severe.
Symptoms of mania “The highs”:
- Excessive happiness, hopefulness, and excitement
- Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable, angry, and hostile
- Rapid speech and poor concentration
- Increased energy and less need for sleep
- Unusually high sex drive
- Making grand and unrealistic plans
- Showing poor judgment
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Becoming more impulsive
- Less need for sleep
- Less of an appetite
- A larger sense of self-confidence and well-being
- Being easily distracted
During depressive periods “The lows” someone with bipolar disorder may have:
- Loss of energy
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Not enjoying things they once liked
- Trouble concentrating
- Talking slowly
- Less of a sex drive
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Uncontrollable crying
- Trouble making decisions
- Needing more sleep
- Appetite changes that make you lose or gain weight
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Attempting suicide
Bipolar Disorder Causes
There is no one cause of bipolar disorder. Researchers are studying how a few factors may lead to it in some people. The way your brain develops may also play a role, but scientists aren’t exactly sure how or why.
Bipolar Disorder Risk Factors
When someone develops bipolar disorder, it usually starts when they are in their late adolescence or young adulthood. Rarely will it happen in their childhood. Like diabetes, bipolar disorder can run in the family.
Studies show that women are somewhat more likely than men to go through rapid cycling, which is having four or more distinct mood episodes within a year. Studies also show that women tend to spend more time depressed than men with bipolar disorder. Please keep in mind men and women are equally likely to get it. However, women normally develop it later in life and they’re more likely to have bipolar II disorder affected by seasonal mood changes.
A combination of medical and mental issues is more common in women which include:
- Thyroid disease
- Anxiety disorder
Some things that make you more likely to have bipolar disorder include:
- Having a family member with bipolar disorder
- Going through a time of high stress or trauma
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Certain health conditions
Lifestyle Changes May Also Help
What may help some people who have bipolar disorder is a change in their lifestyle such as:
- Get regular exercise
- Stay on a schedule for eating and sleeping
- Learn to recognize your mood swings
- Get support from friends or groups
- Keep a symptom journal or chart
- Learn to manage stress
- Find healthy hobbies or sports
- Don’t drink alcohol or use recreational drugs
Learn the warning signs and seek immediate medical help for them:
- Depression – Change in eating, sleeping, activities
- Isolating yourself
- Talking about suicide, hopelessness, or helplessness
- Acting recklessly
- Taking more risks
- Having more accidents
- Abusing alcohol or other drugs
- Focusing on morbid and negative themes
- Talking about death and dying
- Crying more, or becoming less emotionally expressive
- Giving away possessions
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will better understand what bipolar disorder is and what the symptoms are. Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below! Stay safe, and God bless.