Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior—from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other.
Bipolar is more than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder can last for days, weeks, or even months. Unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of Bipolar Disorder are so intense that they interfere with one’s ability to function normally. During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed, and/or be filled with self-loathing behaviors and/or experience extremes of hopelessness.
Common signs of a manic episode include:
- Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
- Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
- Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
- Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
- Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
- Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
- Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
- Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
While characteristics of a depressive episode may include:
- Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Physical and mental sluggishness
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep problems
- Concentration and memory problems
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
It is possible for someone diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder to live a happy and successful life. With treatment including therapy and/or medication these symptoms can be manageable.
Beginning treatment with an experienced NorthPoint therapist can give you the opportunity to begin managing these symptoms rather than being controlled by them. *Adapted from http://www.helpguide.org