There’s a lot of confusion, misunderstanding, and stigma surrounding mental-health issues, and that goes for bipolar disorder as well. Unfortunately, this also keeps many people from seeking the help they need.
An estimated 46 million people worldwide have bipolar disorder, a chronic condition that makes it difficult to control mood. However, an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment can help sufferers manage their bipolar disorder symptoms.
Our team at Compass Mental Health & Wellness in Houston takes the time to get to know each of the people in our care. Not only does this help build a strong and trusting relationship, but it helps us create personalized treatment plans to help people manage their conditions.
Bipolar disorder may seem overwhelming, but we can help. Here are a few common signs of this condition.
Signs of bipolar disorder
When we think of bipolar disorder, we often focus on the extreme mood changes it can cause — from the highest high to the lowest low. However, it’s far more nuanced, and you can even feel depressed and euphoric at the same time. Symptoms can also vary in severity, and you can go years without having any at all.
Because bipolar disorder typically involves extremes in emotion, we often organize symptoms into two categories: manic and depressive.
Signs of manic episodes include the following:
- Feeling overly happy, euphoric, or “high” for long periods
- Taking very fast, usually with racing thoughts
- Being restless or impulsive
- Becoming easily distracted
- Feeling overconfident
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Having the reduced need for sleep
These symptoms can vary from person to person and last anywhere from a day to several weeks.
Periods of depression with bipolar disorder often include:
- Feelings of hopelessness or sadness
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Losing interest in things you once enjoyed
- Having changes in appetite
- Experiencing a lack of energy or intense fatigue
- Having problems concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
- Talking very slowly
- Feeling incapable of doing the simplest tasks
- Being preoccupied with death
- Considering or attempting suicide
Like manic episodes, depressive periods can last for a day or several weeks. And as we mentioned above, you can have mixed periods where you experience mania and depression at the same time.
Types of bipolar disorder
While each type has different characteristics, they each involve very distinct changes in energy, activity, and mood.
Bipolar I Disorder
This form typically includes manic periods that last at least seven days long. You may also have depressive periods that last at least two weeks. And your depression can be mixed with manic features. Furthermore, your symptoms may be severe enough that you may require hospital care
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II also has depressive and manic periods. However, they usually don’t include the extreme manic features of Bipolar I Disorder.
This form of bipolar disorder includes a consistently unstable mood for at least two years with clearly defined episodes of manic and depressive symptoms. When you have cyclothymic disorder, you can have a “normal” mood for brief periods, but they usually last less than eight weeks.
You can also have bipolar disorder that doesn’t meet the clinical specifications of each of the forms outlined above. The medical term for this is “unspecified” or “other specified” bipolar disorder.
Living with bipolar disorder
Fortunately, an accurate diagnosis can help restore your quality of life and stabilize your emotions. As part of your treatment plan, we might recommend a variety of techniques, such as:
- Mindfulness techniques
- Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise
- Sleep analysis
With our personalized and compassionate approach, you can rest easy knowing that you’re not alone, and we’ll help you develop healthy ways to live with bipolar disorder.
Are you concerned you have bipolar disorder? To get a diagnosis, help, or both, book an appointment online or over the phone with Compass Mental Health & Wellness today.