Changes in moods happen but if you think you may need help, let this article guide you.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects thousands of people from all walks of life. Basically, according to medical experts, individuals suffering from this condition often experience episodes of depression that are typically followed by episodes of mania and vice versa.
The most common symptom associated with this disorder is “mood swing”. People who suffer from this mental illness are likely to experience heightened euphoria, followed by guilt and drastic depression.
Essentially, there are two types of symptoms associated with bipolar disorder: Depressive Symptoms and Manic Symptoms. Each set of the symptoms usually produce very different kinds of behaviour and are normally experienced back to back in a short time period.
The following are the various symptoms that are usually associated with bipolar disorder:
1. Mood Swings
Mood swing is the most common symptom of bipolar disorder and is a combination of depressive and manic symptoms. Mood swings are characterised by high levels of negativity followed by high levels of positivity.
Also, many individuals suffering from bipolar disorder experience a buffer phase referred to as “hypomania”. Basically, these are like mild manic episodes that do not significantly tamper with the patient’s everyday behaviour and responsibilities.
With euphoria, patients are likely to experience a sense of accomplishment as well as a heightened level of happiness. Sufferers also normally engage in goal-oriented activities and projects, and feel unstoppable in the pursuit of these goals, although they are usually easily distracted from them.
3. Rapid Speech
One of the good indications that will make you know that a person is experiencing a manic episode is “rapid speech”. Sufferers will suddenly start speaking extremely fast for long periods of time. However, they are often unable to follow a train of thought to its logistical conclusion.
4. Racing Thoughts
People with these symptoms will normally have a hard time focusing on one thing and will most likely tend to overanalyse their thoughts. Speech and thoughts jump seemingly at random from one unrelated topic to another. This ends up increasing the patient’s distractibility.
Agitation is common in both depressive and manic episodes. Patients are often irritated easily by situations they would not be agitated with. Typically, mood instabilities are present during depressive and manic episodes. Sufferers may easily switch from one extreme to the other before returning to their despondent or euphoric baseline.
6. Increased Physical Activity
When an individual is experiencing a manic episode, he/she will most likely have high energy levels. To relieve the energy, patients usually turn to physical activity. Generally, if a person suddenly feels the need of exercising excessively to exert energy, this can be an indication of an underlying issue if it continues in a cyclical pattern.
7. Careless Use of Alcohol/Drugs
Sometimes, individuals suffering from the condition will likely turn to alcohol and drugs. Careless use of these substances can be a warning sign of deeper problems. Worse, excessive alcohol consumption and illicit drugs can further destabilise a person’s mood. This can make the symptoms of the condition much worse.
8. Decreased Need For Sleep
Since manic episodes involve large bursts of energy, the symptoms can make it incredibly hard for a sufferer to sleep. A person experiencing this symptom might require less sleep. However, he/she will not necessarily feel exhausted or tired. Therefore, in some cases, this symptom is normally mischaracterised as insomnia.
9. Missing Work
The inability of a person to maintain a schedule is another common symptom of bipolar disorder. Because of this, most people suffering from bipolar disorder will likely miss work. In fact, the key diagnostic criteria of the condition is that the sufferer’s symptoms are severe enough to interfere with his/her ability to function in day-to-day life.
People who are suffering from a depressive episode will most likely experience extreme fatigue and tiredness. He/She will have lack of overall motivation throughout the day. In addition to the physical fatigue, he or she will feel mentally blogged down during depressive episodes despite the fact that he/she gets ample sleep.
11. Chronic Pain
The patient will likely also experience chronic pain with no known cause. The pain can present itself throughout many parts of the patient’s body including muscles, severe headaches as well as nonspecific body aches.
Sadness and hopelessness are among the symptoms of a depressive episode associated with the disorder. A patient can fall into a state of depression and can have noticeably different symptoms than those which are related to manic episode (whereby people experience heightened sense of euphoria and happiness). The sufferer may become sluggish and fail to see a point in pursuing his/her goals. Also, a patient loses interest in activities he/she used to enjoy, including sexual activity.
13. Suicidal Thoughts
Individuals suffering from this disorder will normally feel sad and depressed. In extreme conditions, they may likely develop suicidal thoughts and end up acting in a suicidal manner. Basically, this can be extremely dangerous because bipolar disorder commonly includes compulsiveness. An individual feeling despondent to the point of suicide will most likely attempt to take his/her own life.
Individuals who are in a bipolar depressive state are going to look just like people who have regular depression. Generally, they’ve got the same issues with appetite, sleep and energy. Unfortunately, typical anti-depressants alone do not work well in bipolar sufferers and they can easily make the patient’s cycle more frequently.
Some individuals suffering from this condition usually suffer from “mixed mania” where they experience the symptoms of depression and mania at the same time. Since most people will confess that they’ve had a bad day more frequently, this is one of the reasons why this type of bipolarity is often much difficult to recognise.
If you happen to experience these signs and symptoms one day, it is ideal for you to ensure and seek professional assistant or medical attention immediately.
Last, but not least, patients suffering from suicidal behaviour or suicidal idealisations require prompt as well as aggressive interventions in order to reduce the risks of tragic consequences.