12 Warning Signs You May Be Bipolar
Bipolar disorder, otherwise known as manic depression, is a condition that plagues the life of almost six million American adults every single year. Victims of the disorder are forced to live in a shifting world of emotion which they have absolutely no control over. It often affects the friends and family of the person with the disorder as well.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is essentially a drastic imbalanced episodes between mania and depression. This causes drastic highs and lows with sudden uncontrollable mood changes. The frequency of these episodes differs among people and some are more susceptible to mania rather than depression and vice versa.
On average bipolar disorder is typically contracted in the mid twenties, but onset of symptoms have been seen in young children and middle aged adults as well. As the sixth most prevalent disability in the world it can be passed on through heredity or develop from depression.
The Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Depression
Many people believe that these two conditions are essentially the same thing. Though some of the symptoms are similar, there are major differences that separate depression and bipolar disorder.
A major difference is the time in which victims deal with symptoms. Those suffering from depression are likely to experience more long and drawn out symptoms. With bipolar disorder the victim is more susceptible to sudden bursts of intense emotion.
Bipolar disorder also includes mania, something that depression doesn’t. Mania is the intense positive side that counteracts the devastating lows experienced in bipolar disorder. Manic episodes are considered to last from four days to a week on average. In depression, the low mood usually sticks around the entire day for long bouts of time.
Top Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
The best way to determine if you or someone you know has bipolar disorder is to look for isolated manic, depressive, or mixed symptoms.
1. Mood Swings
This is a common mixed symptom experienced in bipolar individuals. A mood swing tends to be a shift from a highly positive disposition to a sudden negative outlook. They can also happen the other way around.
2. High Energy Mixed With Low Mood
When mania clashes with depression it confuses the body and mind with contradictory signals. This includes the low feeling of depression mixed with feelings of anxiety, sleeplessness, lack of attention, agitation, and uncontrolled thoughts. This symptom is serious as the depressed mood mixed with sporadic tendencies can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Manic Symptoms of bipolar disorder
3. Intense Irritability
There are drastic highs but a victim is also prone to increased irritability. They may find that small and normally mundane things cause them to overreact, as victims get angry and impatient with the world around them.
4. Inflation of Confidence and Self Esteem
The intense positive levels are sometimes peaked with an ego boost. A manic episode might come with increased feelings of confidence in oneself, only to be dropped completely once depression hits.
5. Prone to Distraction
There is often a shifty and hyperactive attention span during a manic episode. People have trouble in time retaining focus on just one thing and are prone to drift off with small distractions.
6. Careless Decision Making
There may be signs of impulsive tendencies during manic episode. The victim will often make rush and sudden decisions without considering the consequences. Low judgment ability and lack of care lead to decisions suchas high risk or potentially abusive activities.
7. Jumbled Thoughts
There is a lot going on in the head of a bipolar person during a manic episode. Their thoughts are often rushing around their head faster than they can process, making it difficult to collect a coherent perception.
8. Rapid Speech
With all the thoughts and distraction running through a bipolar person’s head, they often rattle off words at a high speed. The thought of not being able to say everything they want in the allotted time stresses them out, making them want to talk as quickly as possible.
Depression Symptoms of bipolar disorder
This is a general symptom commonly associated with depression. It comes with low feelings that inspire a lack of drive and motivation during a depression episode.
10. Appetite and Weight Fluctuation
Sometimes during a depression episode there is a lack of desire to eat. There may also be an increased desire to eat, otherwise known as stress eating. This contradictory diet leads to sudden weight loss and gain in those with this disorder.
11. Suicidal Thoughts
Depression is typically associated with thoughts of death. In an intense episode one might consider suicide, an unfortunately prevalent death for those with severe manic depression.
When a bipolar person swings to the depression side of their disorder, they become much less energetic and exuberant than they were in a manic episode. Feeling tired, drowsy, and out of focus are all symptoms of a depression episode.
Do You Suspect You Have Bipolar Disorder?
The first thing you should do if you exude any symptoms and are concerned about your mental health is consult a professional health practitioner. A doctor is the only reliable source to diagnose such a serious condition.
In its early stages bipolar disorder might be much less obvious and severe. If a doctor dismisses symptoms and they worsen over the years, don’t be afraid to head back for a checkup.
Lastly, seek help from the people around you. Many bipolar victims fail to reach out to their loved ones for support, allowing them to fall deeper into despair. Let those around you know what you’re dealing with so they can understand your actions and give you positive support. If someone gives you negative vibes that worsen your condition, it’s best to avoid them whenever possible.