Bipolar disorder is no laughing matter. It can impact an individual’s life in minor ways that are manageable in daily life, but it can also be debilitating. Formerly called manic depression, it’s a mental health condition that includes mood swings from extreme highs, or mania to extreme lows, or depression. A mental health professional can diagnose bipolar disorder, but you can also look for the signs, both common and uncommon, in yourself and in loved ones. Here’s what you might see when you pay close attention.
Common Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
While most people are at least aware of bipolar disorder, not everyone is in-tune with its symptoms. It’s more common than you might think, but it is not always easily identifiable. As you consider whether you or someone you know has this disorder, be aware of the following common signs or symptoms.
Manic phases can include:
● Elation or euphoria – the extreme emotional highs that come with bipolar include mood swings that are abnormally positive or buoyant with an exaggerated sense of self-confidence.
● High energy – the energy levels that come with bipolar are remarkable in their intensity.
● Trouble sleeping – the increased energy and elated mood can result in an inability to sleep or a decreased need to sleep.
● Talkativeness – being unusually talkative including talking very fast and jumping around to various and unrelated topics is very common during bipolar mania.
Depressive phases can include:
● Sadness or depressed mood – this is the opposite of the elation or euphoria seen in mania. It can include feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
● Low energy – fatigue and loss of energy are usually present during the depressive phase, including slower response times, slowed behavior, and loss of interest in usual activities.
● Inconsistent sleep – this phase can cause sleep disruption leading to either lack of sleep and restlessness or too much sleep.
Uncommon Signs to Pay Attention To
There are other symptoms of bipolar that are less obvious unless you know to look for them. The less common signs can include:
● Poor or risky decision-making. This can include anything from spending too much money consistently to having reckless, dangerous sex. Decisions out of character can be a sign of a mental health issue.
● Agitation and irritability. We tend to think of bipolar as either super high highs or super low lows, but extreme irritability and agitation can also be symptoms.
● Feeling invincible. The notion that one is invincible and indestructible can go along with the manic phase of bipolar. It can be dangerous and can increase the tendency for risky behavior.
● Appetite and weight changes. Both phases can affect appetite and weight, either increasing or decreasing one or both.
If you have any of the above symptoms or you know someone with any of the signs of bipolar disorder, there is no shame in getting the help needed to manage this mental health issue. For a non-judgmental, empowering environment where you can get help managing bipolar disorder symptoms, contact Dr. Keown at Positive Living Psychotherapy today.