It is normal for people go through a lot of ups and down in their lives, but if you have bipolar disorder, these emotions can be more challenging to deal with. It is important to know the warning signs so you can get the treatment and help needed, as symptoms of bipolar disorder can become worse if left untreated. It can affect your job, studies, relationship, and your overall health.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, causes dramatic shifts in mood, behavior, thinking, and energy. You can go from emotional highs to extreme lows, with normal moods in between. Unlike ordinary mood swings, it can take longer before you actually go back to your normal mood. You will experience intense mood swings, which can result to elevated anger or irritability, impulsiveness, feeling too tired or too energetic, hopelessness, and more.
Most people who are experiencing this condition are often misdiagnosed because its signs and symptoms are quite similar to other mental disorders. Counselling services, like The Psychology Space Australia, can help you not just with bipolar disorder, but also in other mental disorders.
There are two episodes of bipolar disorder, namely manic and bipolar depression. Here are the signs and symptoms of mania and bipolar depression to further understand their differences:
In this phase, you will normally feel energized, excited, and experience intense happiness. You might become extremely irritated or feel restless and hyperactive. This episode might be good since you’ll become optimistic, but if this continues and becomes worse, it can bring serious problems as you may become reckless, aggressive, and delusional.
Here are some of its warning signs:
- Extreme irritation
- Feeling high or optimistic
- Being full of energy even without sleep
- Jumping to conclusions
- Talking rapidly
- Feeling powerful
- Unable to focus or concentrate
- Experiencing hallucinations in severe phases
Bipolar Depression Episode
This phase was intertwined with regular depression in the past, but today, a wide array of research and studies about mental disorders suggest that bipolar depression and regular depression have some differences.
Symptoms are more common in bipolar depression than the latter. Here are some of its warning signs:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Problems in memorizing and concentration
- Suicidal tendencies
- Hypersomnia or sleeping problems
- Lack of interest with anything
Sometimes, both of these episodes are being experienced by the person with bipolar disorder. Its common signs are racing thoughts, irritability, insomnia, and agitation combined with depression and anxiety. The combination of both episodes may lead to suicidal tendencies.
Before bipolar disorder becomes worse, preventive measures should be applied. Ignoring it won’t solve anything and leaving it untreated will just cause more problems. This mental disorder is treatable, so getting medications and treatment as soon as possible can prevent the complications it might bring in the long run.
If you’re still in denial and unwilling to seek counselling and treatment after you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder because of reasons such as financial problems or that you’re scared, remember that manic and bipolar depression episodes can be destructive and will hurt the people around you, especially yourself.
Here are some treatment basics that you should know:
- Medication is not enough to control the warning signs and the symptoms of bipolar disorder. You should combine therapy or counselling, and social support from your family and friends. Do not be afraid to seek help and vent out your problems to the people around you, especially to your loved ones. Counselling and therapy can also help foster better communication between you and your family.
- Diagnosis can be tricky so you have to pick an experienced psychologist or psychiatrist for your condition. This is a complex condition and medication should be watched closely since some of it can trigger the symptoms more. Avoid using drugs and drinking alcohol as these may also trigger some of the symptoms.
- It’s a long process. Even if you’re already feeling better and recovering, treatment should be continuous because this is a relapsing and chronic illness. If your medication does not prove to be helpful in your condition, your doctor might prescribe psychotherapy or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) depending on your needs.
If you are already experiencing some of these signs and symptoms, talk to your friends and family, and seek help from a professional, such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Mental health professionals can diagnose and give treatment or medications prior to your condition. Tell them what you are going through and never keep it to yourself because if this won’t be prevented and treated immediately, it may shatter your life. You will not win this battle alone.