Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How To Know If You Are Bipolar Or Depressed

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What Impact Has Bipolar Had On Your Life

The truth about “Bipolar Disorder” (manic depression)

For me this is important because my experience is very unusual. I took antidepressants in my last year of school which, when I arrived at University and took the control of living away from home, helped to induce hypomania.

I was already aware of my mood swings, and studying biomedical sciences. I went to the doctor and said I thought I had bipolar, and he agreed. I had met a superb psychiatrist via student health and because in my extended Irish family there were a few people who were unusual, and at least two with probable bipolar a working diagnosis was quick.

My school and university experiences were coloured by mood swings. I cycled rapidly between deep depression and hypomania. I ate too much and drank too much, in part because of the medication and in part because of anxiety, and became very obese.

I had some embarrassing moments of drunkenness, self-harm, obnoxiousness, and accrued debt. By the time I felt properly back on an even keel seven years later I had accrued nearly £50,000 of unsecured debt, which has taken a decade to pay back.

I dont have a house or a postgraduate degree, which Id have liked and which would help now. But. I had my life.

I avoided hospital, thanks to my psychiatrist, brilliant GP, online peer support, and carefully nurtured insight. And because I found a sense of purpose through volunteering.

The impact has been massive. It disrupted education, disadvantaged my career, and decimated my relationships

How To Tell The Difference Between Depression And Bipolar Disorder

Medically reviewed by Susan Vachon, PA-C on February 4, 2022

Depression and bipolar disorder are two serious mental health conditions that sometimes have similar symptoms. That said, they are two very different conditions. Its important to know the difference so you can get the correct treatment. What works for depression often doesnt work for bipolar disorder, and vice versa.

If youre looking for a little more help distinguishing your symptoms, well go over the main differences between depression and bipolar disorder below. But keep in mind, only a medical provider can diagnose you with either condition.

Living With Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition of extremes. A person with bipolar disorder may be unaware they’re in the manic phase.

After the episode is over, they may be shocked at their behaviour. But at the time, they may believe other people are being negative or unhelpful.

Some people with bipolar disorder have more frequent and severe episodes than others.

The extreme nature of the condition means staying in a job may be difficult and relationships may become strained. There’s also an increased risk of suicide.

During episodes of mania and depression, someone with bipolar disorder may experience strange sensations, such as seeing, hearing or smelling things that are not there .

They may also believe things that seem irrational to other people . These types of symptoms are known as psychosis or a psychotic episode.

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Is This Quiz Accurate

This online screening is not a definitive tool. It will not conclusively guarantee that you may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

However, it can be useful if youre experiencing symptoms and want to determine if additional help or support from a mental health professional is the right option for you.

Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.

What Is Rapid Cycling

Bipolar Disorder  Madison

Some people with bipolar disorder develop rapid cycling where they experience four or more episodes of mania or depression within a 12-month period. Mood swings can occur very quickly, like a rollercoaster randomly moving from high to low and back again over a period of days or even hours. Rapid cycling can leave you feeling dangerously out of control and most commonly occurs if your bipolar disorder symptoms are not being adequately treated.

The different faces of bipolar disorder

Bipolar I Disorder This is the classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usuallybut not alwaysBipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.

Bipolar II Disorder In Bipolar II disorder, you dont experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.

Cyclothymia Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder that consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.

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Do I Have Depression Or Bipolar Disorder

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder shares many similarities to regular depression, including prolonged sadness, inability to concentrate, loss of energy, difficulty sleeping, and thoughts of suicide. People with bipolar depression, however, tend to have more unpredictable mood swings, more irritability and guilt, and more feelings of restlessness. They also tend to move and speak slowly, sleep a lot and gain weight.

According to, your depression might be bipolar disorder if:

  • Youve experienced repeated episodes of major depression.
  • You had your first episode of major depression before age 25.
  • You have a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder.
  • When youre not depressed, your mood and energy levels are higher than most peoples.
  • When youre depressed, you oversleep and overeat.
  • Your episodes of major depression are short
  • Youve lost contact with reality while depressed.
  • Youve had postpartum depression before.
  • Youve developed mania or hypomania while taking an antidepressant.
  • Your antidepressant stopped working after several months.
  • Youve tried 3 or more antidepressants without success.

What Are Potential Results Of Screening For Bipolar

An estimated 2.8% of U.S. adults have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. If left undiagnosed or untreated, the condition usually worsens, causing more problems with mood, energy and clear thinking.

If a diagnosis comes back as negative for bipolar, but you still experience symptoms, a health care professional may screen you for a similar condition such as schizophrenia or depression.

Getting a professional screening can start you on the path toward treatment, which can help improve your quality of life.

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When Is Bipolar Diagnosed

Bipolar disorder is typically diagnosed during the late teen years or early adulthood, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, Chief Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Occasionally, bipolar symptoms can appear in children.

To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the person must have experienced at least one depressive episode and one manic or hypomanic episode.

Five Or More Of The Following Symptoms Can Be Associated With Major Depression In Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar Disorder vs Depression – 5 Signs You’re Likely Bipolar
  • Loss of energy
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Shifts in mood
  • Social withdrawal
  • Guilt
  • A feeling of worthlessness

Since mental disorders often overlap these symptoms, it is essential to understand the difference between bipolar disorder and borderline personality.

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The Realities Of Atypical Bipolarity

With bipolar finally recognized, bipolar medications can be introduced to decrease manic-type symptoms, while keeping depression in check. Alongside medications, its important to have therapy focus on the unique challenges facing people with bipolar disorder. Major depression is frequently considered an acute condition because it often can resolve in time, so medications may be discontinued at some point, along with a shorter overall approach to therapy. But bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. Even though its symptoms can come and go in episodes, the genetic nature of the condition means the bipolar patient will need continuing care over the lifespan.


Hirschfeld R. M., Lewis, L., & Vornik, L. A. . Perceptions and impact

of bipolar disorder: How far have we really come? Results of the National

Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association 200 survey of individuals

with bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 64, 161174.

American Psychiatric Association. . Diagnostic and statistical manual

of mental disorders . Washington, DC: Author, 128-130.

How Can Bipolar Signs & Symptoms Affect Daily Life

If left untreated, some side effects that come with bipolar may affect a persons daily life:

  • Job or education responsibilities
  • Inability to care for dependents or self
  • Financial stress, possibly bankruptcy, eviction, or car repossessed
  • Loss of social connections as friendships suffer
  • Dysfunctional family relationships displaying codependency, resentment, family estrangement, or divorce

If a person is diagnosed with a severe impairment that impedes their ability to work, it may make them eligible for disability benefits.

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Talk With Your Doctor

If you think that you or a loved one has signs or symptoms of bipolar disorder, your first step should be to talk with your doctor. Only a trained medical professional can diagnose this disorder, and diagnosis is key to getting proper treatment.

Medication, therapy, or other treatment options can help you or your loved one manage symptoms and maximize quality of life.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

In the early stages, mania and depression are common symptoms. However, these periods may go beyond depression and mania. They become longer-lasting and more severe than normal. This is when individuals begin to experience psychosis.

During a bipolar episode, manic symptoms and depressive symptoms can last for a week or more, with some patients experiencing symptoms of both daily.

Look for any of the following signs of mania or bipolar depression to know the symptoms of bipolar disorder:

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How To Know If You Might Have Bipolar Disorder

It can feel overwhelming to find an answer to the question: How do I know if I have bipolar disorder?While many consider it daunting, this is not the case. You may be seeking answers to understand the issue better if you suspect you or someone you love suffers from it.

When navigating a bipolar diagnosis, knowledge is power, which is incredibly accurate. By understanding your mental health condition, you will be able to improve your quality of life and cope better.

In this article we will discuss how to know if you have bipolar disorder, what treatment options are available, and more as we discuss the signs and symptoms of the condition.

Can Anxiety Turn Into Bipolar

There is no research evidence that suggests that anxiety can turn into bipolar disorder, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, Chief Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. People with bipolar disorder may experience feelings of anxiety, however, and may also confuse some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder for symptoms of anxiety.

In addition, some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can also be associated with some of the anxiety disorders, Rego says. And some people may have both an anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder.

So it’s not always so easy to sort these things out, Rego says. It is much more important to seek professional help if youre experiencing symptoms that are causing you distress or interference in your ability to function in life.

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Why Does Depression Happen

Many people living with depression question why they feel this way and want to know what is behind their sadness. Researchers are trying to understand why depression occurs. Various potential causes and risk factors may contribute to the onset of symptoms. As we learn more about depression, depression symptoms may occur for reasons such as:

  • Stress or trauma. Life changes, unexpected loss, feeling burned out, or overwhelmed are changes that may trigger depressive episodes.
  • Hormone changes or imbalance. Women may experience postpartum depression after childbirth due to body changes. Menopause and menstruation are other situations that may include hormonal imbalance.
  • Family genes. A person may have depression if there is a family history or be at risk of developing it if it runs in their immediate family.
  • Chemical differences. Physical or biological imbalances in the brain may increase the chances of developing depression.
  • Medical conditions or illness. Certain medications, physical or mental conditions could increase depression risk.

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How To Tell The Difference Between Bipolar Lows And Depression

Bipolar Disorder – What You Need To Know

The thing about bipolar lows and depression is that theyre incredibly similar. Both can last for weeks or months, which sometimes makes it difficult to know which condition you may have.

The major thing to keep an eye out for is periods of mania. Sometimes, you dont even realize youre manic because its hard to be introspective at these times. Your ability to be a good judge of behavior is skewed, which is partly why people with mania engage in risky behaviors.

However, there is one form of bipolar depression that is distinct. Sometimes, with bipolar disorder, you can experience symptoms of depression and mania at the same time. You might feel incredibly hopeless, but also agitated and restless at the same time. Youll be incredibly irritable and have racing thoughts, but they may just be thoughts of sadness and guilt.

This type of mixed episode will feel very different from standard depression. You might not be able to even describe how you feel because it keeps changing from one moment to the next. Its possible to be sobbing while simultaneously saying youre the happiest youve ever felt.

Having this type of episode can also put you at a higher risk for suicide. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact 911 or go to your nearest emergency department. IF YOU ARE CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE, CONTACT 911 OR THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LINE AT 1-88-273-TALK .

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How Do I Know If I Have Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of bipolar disorder vary among individuals. Symptoms typically begin between ages 15 and 25. They usually last several years before disappearing completely. However, some people continue to experience symptoms throughout their lives.

If you recently found that you have bipolar disorder, its time to start exploring effective treatment options and learning how to deal with bipolar disorder in relationships.

Can Bipolar Disorder Go Away

Bipolar disorder tends to be seen as an ongoing condition that waxes and wanes throughout ones life, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, Chief Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Fortunately, the symptoms can often be controlled and stabilized in most cases when proper treatment is in place, Rego says.

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Psychotherapy With A Doctor

Psychotherapy is a term for a variety of treatment techniques that aim to help a person identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Psychotherapy can offer support, education, skills, and strategies to people with bipolar disorder and their families.

Therapy with family can also be beneficial as the symptoms of bipolar disorder can strongly affect the overall dynamics of a familys day-to-day function.

What If Im Not Happy With My Treatment

How to Get Help for Bipolar Disorder

If you arent happy with your treatment you can:

  • talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
  • ask for a second opinion,
  • get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
  • contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
  • make a complaint.

There is more information about these options below.

How can I speak to my doctor about my treatment options?

You can speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you arent happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.

Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you arent given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it isnt suitable for you.

Whats a second opinion?

A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.

You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.

What is advocacy?

An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.

There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. NHS complaints advocates can help you if you want to complain about the NHS.

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Symptom Awareness & Management Can Lead To Bipolar Stability

If you recognize yourself in these symptoms, write them down. Memorize them. When they show up again, you will be able to stop yourself from acting on the symptoms.

I was rude to someone during the episode that compelled me to write this list, and I felt terrible. I knew I was sick, and I knew I needed to be careful, but this illness is strong! I apologized and went into management mode the episode was gone by the evening.

I believe that the secret to stability is the awareness and management of symptoms.


Whats The Screening Test For Bipolar Disorder Like

Talking with a doctor or mental health professional is the first step in identifying bipolar disorder. Specific criteria for diagnosis are laid out in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .

In a screening for bipolar disorder, youll be asked several questions about your symptoms and how long they have occurred.

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Bipolar Disorder And Suicide

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, and suicide is a major risk factor. In fact, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts tend to be more lethal.

The risk of suicide is even higher in people with bipolar disorder who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, or an early onset of the disease.

Suicide warning signs include:

  • Talking about death, self-harm, or suicide.
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless.

Get more help

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Rapid Cycling Signs, symptoms, and causes of rapid cycling in bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Workbook and other self-help resources.

Hotlines and support

In the U.S.: Call the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264 or find DBSA Chapters/Support Groups in your area.

UK: Call the peer support line at 0333 323 3880 and leave a message for a return call or Find a Support Group near you.

Australia: Call the Sane Helpline at 1800 187 263 or find a local Support Group.

Canada: Visit Finding Help for links to provincial helplines and support groups.

India: Call the Vandrevala Foundation Helpline at 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330

The HelpGuide team appreciates the support of Diamond Benefactors Jeff and Viktoria Segal.

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