It Must Be Your Time Of The Month
While it’s true that monthly hormonal changes may affect mood, passing off bipolar disorder as being nothing more than PMS is just wrong. Bipolar disorder also doesn’t discriminate: It can affect people of all sexesnot just those who menstruate. Any person is liable to take offense at this statement, let alone a person with bipolar disorder.
Men Show Bipolar Signs Earlier Than Women
Two major differences between men and women that have been documented are that men generally display symptoms earlier and are less prone to the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder.
Teens and young adults with bipolar disorder symptoms may think and talk about self-harm or suicide. If someone you know is expressing these thoughts, seek help immediately by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK .
Recognizing Bipolar Disorder In Yourself Or Others
Just like each person looks different, the condition can vary from person to person.
It is important to understand how bipolar disorder tends to present. Its not like a light switch of emotions, as many believe it to be. Symptoms of mania or depression may appear over the span of days, weeks, or even longer.
Some episodes may last for a day or two while others may last for a week or longer.
To understand BD, its important to understand the signs of manic and depressive episodes.
Some signs that someone is experiencing a manic episode include:
- Feeling elated, high, or up
- Feeling extremely irritable
- A decreased need for sleep, sometimes going several days without sleep at all without feeling tired
- Changes in appetite
- Bouncing quickly between thoughts
- Risky behavior and poor judgment, such as spending large amounts of money, drinking excessively, or risky sexual behavior
- Grandiose ideas where the person feels exceptionally talented, important, or powerful
Since a manic episode can involve feelings of euphoria, its not unusual for people experiencing mania to want the feeling to last forever. This also explains why many who are experiencing episodes of mania may not ask for help. However, the feeling of mania will end.
Some people with BD will also experience one or more depressive episodes. They may have symptoms similar to major depressive disorder . Some of the most common symptoms include:
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Conditions That Can Co
Many people with bipolar disorder also have other mental disorders or conditions such as anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , misuse of drugs or alcohol, or eating disorders. Sometimes people who have severe manic or depressive episodes also have symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example, someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may falsely believe they are financially ruined, while someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may falsely believe they are famous or have special powers.
Looking at symptoms over the course of the illness and the persons family history can help determine whether a person has bipolar disorder along with another disorder.
How Can I Involve Family And Friends In Understanding My Mania
Its important to have an honest conversation with your family and closest friends.
- Let your family and friends know what you do and dont find helpful. For example, if youd appreciate a friendly reminder about taking your daily medications or a question about if you are getting enough sleep, let them know. On the other hand, if you dont like always being asked if your current state of happiness is a sign youre having a manic episode, discuss this.
- Ask your family and friends if they can help identify your triggers if you cant. They may be able to spot triggers that you cant spot yourself. Ask what theyve noticed or any patterns they may see around the times of your episodes. As soon as you recognize an early sign, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider. You may or may not need a medication adjustment. However, its good to be on the alert since your symptoms could rapidly change.
- Describe how your symptoms feel to you. Your family and friends will have a better understanding of your condition.
- Let family and friends know what type of help youd like from them and when youd like it. There may be times when you feel you can cope on your own. Knowing the difference will be helpful for everyone.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Everyones experience with bipolar disorder is different, and the signs and symptoms vary.
A manic episode may include these symptoms:
- Intense feelings of euphoria, excitement, or happiness
- Appearing abnormally jumpy or wired
- Having excessive energy
- Insomnia or restlessness
- Speaking fast or being unusually talkative
- Having racing or jumbled thoughts
- Inflated self-esteem
- Doing impulsive, uncharacteristic, or risky things like having unsafe sex or spending a lot of money
- Increased agitation and irritability
A depressive episode may include these symptoms:
A severe manic or depressive episode may trigger psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations .
Tips For Living With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that doesnt go away on its own. While it can feel overwhelming and isolating at first, an early, accurate diagnosis is the first step toward getting better. Proper treatment, along with support and self-care, helps people with bipolar disorder live healthy, fulfilling lives.
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Living With A Spouse Or Significant Other Who Has Bipolar
Living with someone who has untreated bipolar disorder demands immediate intervention. However, be aware that trying to talk someone into getting help for BPD requires a commitment to yourself to resist that persons attempts to justify or downplay their actions.
Additionally, many bipolar individuals may not remember everything they did during a manic phase. Before sitting down with spouse or roommate to discuss their getting help, have the receipts to show them that you are not exaggerating or falsifying their manic behavior.
Be prepared to discuss their bipolar disorder by doing the following:
- List everything the person has done during a manic episode that resulted in negative consequences
- List all the ways in which the persons behavior has impacted you and their familys lives.
- Explain gently but firmly if the person refuses to seek BPD treatment that you cant support them anymore because your own wellbeing is suffering. If they are a spouse, they may need to be told that until they agree to enter treatment, you will need a period of separation from them.
Probably the quickest way individuals can receive treatment involuntarily is when they attempt suicide. Unfortunately, people in the grip of mania only receive involuntary treatment if they are actively delusional or hallucinating while committing acts that endanger themselves or others.
What Does Bipolar Depression Feel Like
When someone has bipolar disorder, they cant count on one mood enduring, no matter how good it feels. An elevated emotional state can leave them vulnerable to crushing, life-threatening depression. This is the point when many people with bipolar first seek helpand when theyre often misdiagnosed with unipolar depression.
Many people go through depression, and everyone experiences deep sadness at times, but bipolar depression is a war of the mind that people with bipolar I disorder will battle over the course of their lives. You fight battles with depression over the course of weeks, months, and even years but the war will always be there in your life. There will always be battles in my mind. Its how you limit those battles that truly makes a difference.
-James Edgar Skye
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Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified is a general category for a person who only has symptoms of bipolar disorder that dont match the three other categories. The symptoms are not enough to make a diagnosis of one of the other three types.
The signs of bipolar disorder can generally be divided into those for mania, and those for depression.
Bipolar Disorder Before And After Treatment
There is a difference between bipolar disorder before and after treatment. Once, while giving a speech about living with bipolar disorder, someone raised their hand and asked, How can you tolerate the mood swings? Dont they prevent you from getting things accomplished? It was a fair question, especially since I had just spent the previous five minutes describing the whiplash effect of depression and mania.
I wasnt exaggerating, either the bipolar spectrum is a long one, allowing a person to feel like an invincible god one moment and a worthless piece of garbage the next. But, in my haste to tell a good story, I left out a very important detail: I was describing my life before diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
Now that I am in recovery, my life with bipolar disorder is Im doing my best to make this as exciting as possible mundane.
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Bipolar Disorder Can Be Manageddont Lose Hope
Trying to manage a new diagnosisor an existing onecan be challenging. The following may be helpful to make it seem less overwhelming.
- Stick to the treatment process it may take some time to achieve meaningful progress, but its worth it
- Keep all appointments and talk to your doctor about all questions and concerns, especially as they relate to the treatment process
- Take all medications as directed and talk to your doctor if you need a change in treatment
- Build a routine and stick to it this includes exercise, sleeping, and eating
- Try to be patient improvement takes time and having strong social support can help
- Stay away from alcohol and drugs as their use can influence brain connections, leading to mood swings
Even though bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, treatment for it is effective. With management of the condition, people can both control their symptoms and live healthy lives.
McLean offers world-class bipolar disorder care. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental illness, call us today at to learn more about treatment options.
Get Involved With Treatment
Ask if you can be involved with your partners treatment, which may include occasionally going to the psychiatrist together. Being a part of your partners treatment has multiple benefits, including:
- Gaining a better understanding of the illness.
- Providing additional insight for the psychiatrist.
- Learning to spot signs of impending episodes.
- Alerting the psychiatrist about mood changes.
Even if your partner hasnt signed off on you exchanging information with their psychiatrist, you can still report worrisome signs . This gives the doctor a chance to make quick medication changes that may help your partner avoid being hospitalized.
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What Does A Bipolar Diagnosis Feel Like
Research shows that it usually takes 5-10 years for someone with bipolar disorder to be accurately diagnosed after their first episode. This delay means that they may be diagnosed with something else in the meantime, like an anxiety disorder, depression, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder . Or they may lose friends, lose jobs, or abuse drugs or alcohol before receiving effective treatment.
-How Invalidating My Bipolar Disorder Invalidates Me, NAMI
I saw eight psychiatrists before I got my diagnosis and was misdiagnosed almost always with depression. Bipolar patients are misdiagnosed on average eight to 10 times before they see a doctor who diagnoses them correctly. Back then, I thought they were all right. And its understandable, because I only went to those doctors when I was in my down periods, feeling terrible. I didnt go when I was feeling elated or manic. And thats still a problem today: people who are bipolar are not so willing to give up their mania.
How Does A Bipolar Treatment Center Help
Psychiatrists and psychologists can accurately diagnose BPD by performing a detailed intake assessment and evaluation of the persons symptoms. The patients cognitive abilities, physical health, and history of mood swings are also noted during the assessment. In some cases, a doctor may order blood work to determine if an underlying physiological condition is causing mania/hypomania and/or depression.
Residential centers offering treatment for bipolar disorder also provide post-treatment support and assistance for patients completing treatment.
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What Is A Person With Bipolar Disorder Like
Bipolar disorder is a serious, persistent mental illness characterized by changes in mood, energy, and the ability to function. People with bipolar disorder frequently display extreme, intense, and disturbing emotional states known as mood episodes. Extreme happiness or excitement and melancholy are typical symptoms of mood episodes. People with bipolar disorder can also have normal moods occasionally.
Bipolar disorder is classified into:
- Bipolar I: Characterized by alternating severe depression and intense mania
- Bipolar II: It involves severe depression but a less intense mania
- Cyclothymic disorder: A less severe form of mania and depression
You’re Acting Like A Maniac
Though the historical definition of “maniac” referred to someone experiencing mania, today the term carries with it a host of extremely negative and misleading connotations.
Maniacs are often portrayed as violent and deranged in popular culture. Experiencing bipolar mania does not automatically mean that a person will be dangerous. Bipolar disorder is also not the same thing as antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy.
You should also be wary of any language that defines a person by their disorder. A person is much more than a disease or illness.
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What Is A Person With Bipolar Like
People with bipolar experience both episodes of severe depression, and episodes of mania overwhelming joy, excitement or happiness, huge energy, a reduced need for sleep, and reduced inhibitions. The experience of bipolar is uniquely personal. No two people have exactly the same experience.
I Wish I Was Manic So I Could Get Things Done
That’s not all there is to mania. There are many symptoms of mania, and comments like this not only trivialize a person’s experience with mania but also demonstrate a harmful lack of understanding of what mania actually is. While a person may indeed have a lot of energy during a manic episode, they can also experience racing thoughts, trouble sleeping, and impulsive behavior among other challenges.
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What Are The Causes Of Bipolar Disorder
There is no single cause of bipolar disorder. Researchers are studying how a few factors may lead to it in some people.
For example, sometimes it can simply be a matter of genetics, meaning you have it because it runs in your family. The way your brain develops may also play a role, but scientists arenât exactly sure how or why.
Bipolar Moods And Symptoms
We all have changes in our mood, but in bipolar disorder these changes can feel very distressing and have a big impact on your life.
You may feel that your high and low moods are extreme, and that swings in your mood are overwhelming. And you may feel and behave very differently, depending on your mood. This can be difficult and confusing.
These swings in mood are sometimes called mood episodes or mood states. Not everyone experiences mood episodes in the same way or for the same amount of time.
This page covers:
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If Youre Considering Self
If youre having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can access free support right away with these resources:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- The Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
- The Trevor Project. LGBTQIA+ and under 25 years old? Call 866-488-7386, text START to 678678, or chat online 24-7.
- Veterans Crisis Line. Call 800-273-8255, text 838255, or chat online 24-7.
- Deaf Crisis Line. Call 321-800-DEAF or text HAND at 839863.
- Befrienders Worldwide. This international crisis helpline network can help you find a local helpline.
My Experience With Bipolar
I was diagnosed with bipolar in my late teens, in my first year at university. The diagnosis have shaped my adult identity and experiences.
People with bipolar experience both episodes of severe depression and episodes of mania overwhelming joy, excitement or happiness, huge energy, a reduced need for sleep, and reduced inhibitions. The experience of bipolar is uniquely personal. No two people have exactly the same experience.
Bipolar disorder has been associated with genius and with creativity. It is certainly true that several contemporary high achievers and creatives have spoken of their experiences. Throughout history, it is possible to recognise bipolar-type traits in the artistic, political and academic spheres. But what is it actually like?
I was lucky enough to speak to a range of people with bipolar to demonstrate the range of experiences out there and some of the things that help. Read on to learn more about their experiences with bipolar.
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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.