We all have our good and bad moods, but with bipolar disorder, the shifts are much more extreme. Previously known as manic-depressive disorder or manic depression, this condition causes severe changes in behaviour, thinking, energy, and mood.

Bipolar disorder is not something to be taken lightly. Its impact can be devastating when left untreated. On the other hand, it’s also a highly-manageable disorder. The first step is learning to identify the symptoms in yourself and other people.

Bipolar Disorder is a Serious Mental Illness

There’s a good reason why bipolar mood swings are often compared to riding a roller coaster. The high moods, aka mania, feel similar to a coaster’s rapid ascent. The next second, you’re suddenly dropping to the lowest part of the ride, which is severe depression.

Without intervention, you become trapped in this endless cycle of extreme mood shifts. These cycles can last for days to months at a time. They’re so intense, they make it almost impossible to live a normal life.

Left untreated, bipolar disorder can lead to poor performance at school and work. It can also contribute to damaged relationships and addiction. Sufferers are prone to criminal activity and risk-taking behaviour during the manic phase. The condition can also lead to suicide.

Signs of Bipolar Disorder

The good news is that bipolar disorder is highly treatable even though there is no cure yet. In general, a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and listening support can help individuals manage the symptoms.

The key is seeking help as early as possible. Some symptoms that may suggest bipolar disorder are:

  • Uncharacteristic periods of depression and anger
  • Overconfidence and grandiosity
  • Frequent sadness
  • Easy tearfulness
  • Not needing a lot of sleep to feel rested
  • Unusual impulsive behaviours or risk taking
  • Inattention
  • Confusion
  • Moodiness

Oftentimes, bipolar disorder is accompanied by substance abuse, anxiety and appetite changes. It also disrupts normal activities.

Bipolar Depression: Manic and Depressive Episodes

Aside from the general signs of bipolar disorder, be vigilant about symptoms of manic and major depressive episodes as well.

Mania and depression are the primary markers of bipolar disorder:

Symptoms of a Manic Episode.

  • Being unusually jumpy, upbeat, or wired
  • Increased energy
  • Agitation
  • Exaggerated self-confidence aka euphoria
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Uncharacteristic talkativeness
  • Distractibility
  • Racing thoughts
  • Erratic decision making, such as taking sexual risks, shopping sprees, gambling, making foolish investments,

Symptoms of a Major Depressive Episode

  • Feeling intense sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Loss of pleasure in some or all activities
  • Significant weight loss, weight gain, or sudden changes in appetite
  • Sleeping issues
  • Slowed behaviour or restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicidal attempts

It’s important to know that these symptoms may not manifest all at once. But if you start recognizing a few of the symptoms in yourself or in others, consider seeking help ASAP.

Talking for Therapy is Here for You 24/7

Treatment is the most ideal course for those with bipolar disorder. But we understand that it’s not possible for everyone. Perhaps you’re unsure about your next steps or you lack resources. It could also be that you’re without a strong support system to help you through this journey. You’re likely overwhelmed with what you’re feeling.

Talking for Therapy is here to provide unconditional support wherever you are, whenever you need it. Our advisors are trained in mental health issues, health and social care, and active listening. Book an appointment now and let’s talk about YOU.