Effects From Bipolar Disorder
The defining feature of this mental illness is wide mood swings. But shifts in sexual attitudes and risk-taking also can be common signs of bipolar disorder. A few ways it can affect your sex life may include:
Hypersexuality. Itâs also called compulsive sexual behavior. Itâs when sex becomes a main focus of your life. You may not be able to control it even if it harms you or other people. This usually happens during the manic or hypomanic phase of your illness. Thatâs when youâre most likely to do something pleasurable without thinking about potential harms.
Risky behavior. Itâs not only people who have bipolar disorder who engage in dangerous sex. But the condition can lead you to take chances more often. Those risks can include sex with strangers, sex without condoms and other protection, or mixing sex with drugs.
Lower sex satisfaction. You may find that you enjoy sex less than you used to. Or your sex drive may drop when youâre in the depressive phase of your illness, which can leave you feeling indifferent or tired.
Sexual dysfunction. You can have problems in four areas: desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain during sex. This can be a lingering symptom of bipolar disorder and typically happens when you’re in a “normal” mood, and not feeling manic or depressed.
Double The Stigma: Hypersexuality In Bipolar Illness And How To Manage It
Imagine the following scenario. A petite woman with dark hair and a wounded expression in her eyes suddenly buries her face in her hands and starts to cry.
“What’s wrong?” her friend asks.
“Eric cheated on me. I found him in bed with my friend’s younger sister. He told me two days ago that he loved me and would never do anything to hurt me. He went on and on about how beautiful I was. He stayed up all night writing me poems about his undying love for me. Wrote me 12 sonnets. Told me how he worshipped the ground I stood on.”
“He’s crazy that boyfriend of yours. Isn’t he the one with bipolar?”
While this is of course a fictional account, the likelihood of it actually happening does exist in the realm of possibility. But chances are you are only observing the outward behaviors and not delving into the larger, overall picture. What is the real story behind the story I’ve created for this article? And is hypersexuality just another way to stigmatize those with a mental health condition?
“Hypersexuality” is a common symptom of bipolar illness. This symptom can present a significant challenge in committed relationships and can oftentimes lead to a break-up or divorce. Huge differences in sexual desire between partners, STDs, and infidelity are just some of the distressing issues that can arise.
However, with some insight and knowledge of the beast, we’re dealing with, perhaps some alternate outcomes are possible. Let’s dive in and see!
How Long Do Bipolar Affairs Last
Even if a person with bipolar disease lies not out of spite, but because of an episode the lies they tell can be hurtful. Lying, no matter how infrequent, can damage your relationships trust. The more lies revealed, the more fractured the relationship becomes until it is completely broken.
Furthermore, they are more likely to participate in risky activities like unprotected sex, extramarital affairs, and will begin lying to their partner.
However, there are rare exceptions, such as when an individual with bipolar disorder and hypersexuality nature and their partner have a pleasant relationship.
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Could You Be Addicted To Sex
Compulsively engaging in sexual activities could signal a behavior problem. Use this self-assessment to see if you could benefit from professional treatment.
For this reason, Vigorito stressed that people experiencing hypersexuality or out-of-control sexual behavior should always undergo a thorough differential diagnosis. This type of examination employs a patients medical history and tests to distinguish and differentiate one possible disease or condition from another.
Dont Be Ashamed If Hypersexuality Results In Infidelity Instead Recognize That Its Behaviors Are A Symptom Of Bipolar Manianot A Character Flaw
Whats the worst part about confessing to your spouse that you cheated on them? Is it in the outpouring of your heart when you try and convince them that you didnt mean to hurt them? That it meant nothing and you felt compelled to do it? Or is it the look of confusion, anger, and pain in their eyes when they realize it really happened? For me, it was all of the above. In my last manic state, I cheated on my husband with some college student I found chatting online. Which if you knew the person I used to be a decade ago in high school, youd not only be shocked but utterly flabbergasted by my actions! If youre interested, the whole story can be found on my blog.
Dont get me wrong. I do get some of the other symptoms of bipolar mania: the racing thoughts, insomnia, and feelings of grandiosity. However, the most powerful one is hypersexuality. To be honest, when I was having the affair I had no idea what the word was or even that I was manic! I had no idea such a thing could exist. Despite all that, there was a part of me that knew something was terribly wrong and that this was completely out of my character.
It feels so personal but its not. And its not an excuse. It is just about the need to find sexual satisfaction.
For some reason, this overly disciplined area of my life back then became the most out of control area for me several years later.
For those of you who suffer from hypersexuality, you need to know that your behavior is a SYMPTOM of a DISORDER.
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What Is The Definition Of Hypersexuality
Websters New Collegiate Dictionary describes hypersexual as unusually or excessively interested in or concerned with sexual activity. It is an accepted fact that hypersexuality is a symptom of hypomania or mania in an adult who has bipolar disorder. In Overcoming Depression, 3rd Edition, we wrote about the increased sociability that accompanies an upswing in mood and stated that often accompanying this increased sociability is an increased sexual drive . It is not uncommon for the person to fall in love and impetuously pursue a love affair or a string of affairs, possibly jeopardizing an established relationship or marriage. In another section, a man describes some of the sensations he felt early in a manic phase: Sexually I felt awakened, competent, responsive Hypersexuality is a very common symptom of mania.
In children, the symptom may manifest as a fascination with private parts and an increase in self-stimulatory behaviors, a precocious interest in things of a sexual nature, and language laced with highly sexual words or phrases.
If aggression is difficult to explain to the neighbors, what do you do with little ones who always have their hands down their pants, whose language may be filled with sexual jargon, or who are constantly trying to rub their bodies up against an adult?
Dr. Geller explained:
What Are The Causes Of Sex Addiction And Hypersexuality
The causes of hypersexual behaviour are not well understood. However, sex addiction and hypersexuality may sometimes be caused by traumatic experiences, distress, or by mental illness, such as bipolar disorder.
Adults who have been sexually abused as children may display increased sexual behaviour. High-risk sexual behaviour may also be associated with family problems and social stress.
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The Difference Between Bipolar And Borderline Personality Disorder
A diagnosis of a mental health disorder can be fluid. Not every symptom presents itself at the initial diagnosis. Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or years before a manifestation of a different mental health disorder presents itself. When a new symptom does appear, the original diagnosis can change.
However, the appearance of new symptoms doesnt rule out one diagnosis. Often, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are linked. The symptoms of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder can make diagnosis difficult at times.
Guidelines exist that outline the signs and symptoms of each mental health disorder. Still, there are instances when the lines between bipolar disorder can blur with borderline personality disorder symptoms. Borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder share similarities, which can lead to confusion.
Many people mistake the symptoms of borderline personality disorder with bipolar disorder. Due to this difficulty, therapists assess a patient and make a diagnosis based on the guidelines in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The DSM sets a standard protocol for borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder recognized across the country.
Before understanding the difference between bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, it is helpful to follow the signs of each mental health disorder.
What The Research Says
A recent study looked at 114 people with bipolar disorder and stable moods. All of the study participants were being treated with mood stabilizers as opposed to antipsychotics or antidepressants.
The researchers found that people who took the anticonvulsants valproate or lamotrigine had better sexual function scores than people who took lithium or a combination of lithium and benzodiazepines.
In comparison with people who took anticonvulsants alone:
- People who took lithium or a combination of lithium and benzodiazepines had worse sexual desire.
- People who took lithium had worse sexual arousal.
- People who took a combination of lithium and anticonvulsants, or lithium and benzodiazepines had worse sexual orgasm.
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Keeping A Healthy Marriage When One Of You Has Bipolar Hypersexuality
More than 4 percent of Americans experience bipolar at some point during their lives. During manic episodes, a person with bipolar may have surges in energy, an elevated mood, and sometimes a sense of invincibility. Around 40% of people with bipolar also experience hypersexuality.
When a persons sex drive is significantly higher than their partners, it can cause stress and conflict. In a person with bipolar, difficulties with impulse control can exacerbate these common relationship issues.
Couples in which one partner has bipolar hypersexuality may worry about the effects of bipolar. But bipolar hypersexuality does not have to undermine a relationship. A 2016 study found that when it comes to establishing and maintaining relationships, people with bipolar have similar outcomes to people without mental health issues. Couples may, however, report differences in sexual satisfaction as the person with bipolar experiences mood cycles.
Tips For Coping With This Taboo Bipolar Symptom
It can be hard to talk about sex. Whether you were taught to be embarrassed by it or just prefer to keep the topic between you and your partner when mental health affects what happens in the bedroom, its not something many freely want to discuss, let alone bring up to a mental health professional.
But sex is part of life and therefore part of mental health. From antidepressants putting a hold on your sex life, to hypersexuality making you want it a whole lot more, we cant ignore how mental health affects our sex lives. Taking the shame out of these conversations is a great first step.
Hypersexuality which, according to PsychCentral, is defined as a dysfunctional preoccupation with sexual fantasy, often in combination with the obsessive pursuit of casual or non-intimate sex pornography and compulsive masturbation can be a symptom of bipolar mania we dont often talk about. Thats why we wanted to get practical advice from people whove been there. No shame. Just experience.
Of course, you should talk to your doctor about the best ways to handle your own experience with hypersexuality. We just hope knowing there are others who have been there makes having that conversation a little easier. Everyones relationship with sex is different, and at the end of the day, you have to do whats right for you.
Heres the advice our community shared with us for dealing with hypersexuality:
Have advice to share? Let us know in the comments below:
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Understand Sexual Health Issues
Understanding what can happen as a result of sexual activities is important, as it relates to events that may be unintended, such as an unplanned pregnancy.
Having clarity about your sexual actions can also help to reduce your chances of contracting STIs, such as HIV.
This is especially important during periods of hypersexuality.
Signs Of Sex Addiction And Hypersexuality
Hypersexuality and relationship effects are unavoidable. Some people discover their hypersexuality in marriage and others even before that.
Have you felt that something is wrong with your sexual urges?
Knowing the signs of hypersexuality disorder can help you understand this condition better.
Here are some of the signs of a person who has hypersexuality disorder.
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The Impact Of Bipolar Disorder On Sex
Sex is an important part of most of our lives and no less so for people living with bipolar disorder. But maintaining a healthy sexual relationship when bipolar can be as complex as the disease itself.
Depending on the individual, behaviors can swing from periods of excessive sexuality to ones where sexual libido and function are seriously diminished. This high level of variability can impact a person’s ability to date or maintain a long-term relationship.
On the one hand, the impulsivity associated with bipolar mania can fuel unhealthy and even hurtful behaviors, while the rigors of depression can strain even the most committed relationships.
Here Are 5 Tips To Help You Control Your Hypersexual Urges Before They Control You
Over the past few months, Ive been getting an increased number of people on my blog that are curious as to how Im able to keep my hypersexuality under control. For me, if I dont stay focused, Ill never be able to conquer it. Here are 5 rules I created for myself that have been a tremendous help to me over the past year:
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How Does A Parent Feel About This Hpersexuality
No parent rejoices in dealing with a childs sexual life, and no parent ever imagines that he or she will be confronted with this aspect of a childs behavior or interest so early in the game. It catches parents unprepared. Parents can become overwrought about how it will affect siblings older or younger and the outside world who will somehow think they are doing something. How strictly the subject of sexuality was dealt with in their families of origin will account for many of the feelings that may flood parents when they witness such behavior. All parents have heard stories of children being taken out of the homes by CPS and so not only do they feel embarrassment and confusion, but profound threat. They also fear that neighbors or other family members will see this going on and not allow their kids to play with their own child.
There are other feelings. One mother, whose eight-year-old son became very manic this spring, leaned over to get something from the refrigerator and felt him stick a hairbrush up her skirt. This kind of impulsive, unexplainable action, and his early interest in womens breasts and body parts leave her in a tumult of guilt and confusion. Shes constantly asking herself: Did I do something wrong? Where does he get this from?
She told us: I find the hypersexuality directed at me disgusting. Im not a prudish person, but I find it so awkward and scary. It goes against all of societys norms and dictates.
Hypersexuality In The Dreaded Teenage Years
Since over 50% of American teenagers are having sex, adolescence becomes even more loaded for parents of a teenager who may be unstable at times and exhibit periods of hypersexuality. As we wrote in The Bipolar Child:
So many parents have described watching with horror as their daughters get dressed in the skimpiest of outfits and attempt to go out flaunting their bodies to cadres of boys in the neighborhood and school. One girl we knew was so hypersexual that she and her boyfriend were practicing heavy petting in the school library for all to see. We have heard of many boys making calls to 1-900 numbers.
The first thing parents of such a teenager should do is call the treating psychiatrist and get the teens blood levels checked. The hypersexuality may be a sign that the levels have dropped or the teen is being noncompliant. We then go on to suggest that perhaps the teen should be kept home from school for a few days while the meds are adjusted and to keep him or her out of trouble. Again, stability seems to be the key to all things good.
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What To Do About Hypersexuality
It simply comes down to knowing yourself and your life. This symptom is just like any other, if it is harming your life, then you should develop strategies to handle that. For example:
While youll likely have to just wait for the feeling to pass, the feeling alone wont destroy your life, but your actions can.
Tracy, N. . Hypersexuality Explained, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, February 13 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/10/hypersexuality-explained
My second marriage was a victim of my bipolar hypersexuality I had not been diagnosed and wouldn’t be for a few years. Even once you learn it’s a symptom it’s still hard to control and I need to go back to some of the guys I “dated” when I was a teenager and apologize forgive me for I knew not what I did . Yeah just imagine a teenager with hypersexuality!
I am seeking help to address my Hypersexual behavior. Thank you very much for your coments it helps a lot to know that I am not alone. I am just coming to terms with it and I am feeling more liberated.
Reading more of the comments above. I have to admit I’m dying knowing there are hypersexual who are not having sex . I would sex 3 times a day, 7 days a week….but I’ll never meet these women.
Joe StorkmichelleK. wildfangmaurice