Indications of Bipolar Disorder

Are “Mood Swings” an indication of having Bipolar Disorder? We all experience a variety of moods, including happiness, sadness, anger and frustration. Having “good” moods, “bad” moods and fluctuations in moods is an inevitable part of life.

But when a person experiences extreme emotional highs (mania) followed by extreme lows (depression) and these fluctuations severely and negatively impact how they behave and function in their daily lives, a mood disorder could be the underlying cause.

Severe, Extreme & Reoccurring

Bipolar disorder (aka manic depression) is an illness that causes severe changes in mood, energy, thinking and behavior. It’s characterized by extreme mood swings, recurring episodes of depression, and one or more episodes of mania.

Mania may feel like happiness, but it is not the same thing.

Happiness ebbs and flows, while mania is an extreme, prolonged euphoric state that remains high until it crashes.

It impairs judgment, negatively interferes with one’s ability to function in daily life and makes one more impulsive and reckless.

Bipolar Disorder Mania

During a manic episode, people typically experience three or more of the following over the period of a week or more:

  • Anger, irritability or aggressiveness
  • Feeling unusually optimistic
  • Requiring little sleep but feeling extremely energetic
  • Increased, loud or rapid talking
  • Racing thoughts
  • Grandiose belief about one’s ability
  • Being much more active than usual
  • Extremely distractible (unable to focus)
  • Acting on impulse without regard for consequences

Bipolar Triggers

Bipolar disorder has no single cause, but both external and psychological factors are believed to affect the disorder and act as “triggers.”

The following triggers can initiate episodes and/or exacerbate symptoms:

Stress –Sudden, drastic changes can trigger manic episodes—weddings, getting fired, divorce or moving.

Substance Abuse –Drugs like cocaine or ecstasy can trigger mania, while alcohol or tranquilizers can trigger depression.

Medication –Certain cold medications, caffeine, corticosteroids or antidepressant drugs can trigger mania.

Seasonal Changes –Episodes of mania and depression typically follow a seasonal pattern. Manic episodes occur more frequently during the summer while depressive episodes tend to appear during the fall, winter and spring.

Lack of Sleep –Even missing a few hours can bring on an episode of mania.

What Do You Do?

What to Do If You or Someone You Love Has Bipolar Disorder

If you recognize the symptoms in yourself or someone you love, don’t wait to get help.

Living with Bipolar Disorder affects everything from relationships and employment to physical health.

Diagnosing and treating the disease as early as possible can help a person live a more productive, happy life.

Combating Bipolar Disorder

In addition, these strategies will be helpful.

Get Educated – Learn all you can about the disorder. Knowing the symptoms and available treatment options can assist in recovery.

Get Treatment – While currently there is no “cure,” the right treatment program, including medication, can help manage symptoms. This greatly improve quality of life. Compliance with treatment and medication—even if feeling better—is the key to long-term stability.

Get Therapy – Through therapy you can learn to cope with the disease and change thought patterns.

Lower Stress – Avoid high-stress situations, do something fun, relax, maintain a healthy work-life balance, also incorporate meditation, yoga or deep breathing into your life.

Seek Support – Talking to a trusted, supportive person or attending a support group can help you discover coping tips and reminds you that you’re not alone.

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices – Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, as well as reducing or eliminating caffeine, sugar and alcohol, and exercising regularly consequently helps to stabilize moods.

Monitor your moods. Keeping track of how you’re feeling on a chart or in a journal. This can help you spot patterns and minimize or even prevent problems before they start.

Structure – Setting regular times for eating, sleeping, exercising, as well as working, socializing and relaxing helps to stabilize mood swings.

Bipolar Disorder Is Treatable

Although Bipolar Disorder is a chronic mental illness requiring long-term treatment from a doctor and/or therapist. Many strategies can be employed to help you stay on track.

In the throes of a bipolar episode it’s easy to feel as though the illness runs one’s life. This does not have to be so. Armed with a solid support system in addition to, solid coping skills, it’s possible to live a full and productive life.

A New Outlook Counseling Services

A New Outlook Counseling Services provides therapy for those with mental health issues, addictions to drugs and alcohol as well as marriage counseling and relational therapy for couples and individuals.

Main Office – Highlands Ranch – Robert J. Johnson, SAP, MAC, LAC
Aurora Office – Emma-Shivani Brown PhD, MAC, LAC
Broomfield Office- Niki Worthan-MA, LAC
Lakewood Office – Rick Shriner – CACIII
Cherry Creek Office – Matthew Jarvis, MA, LPC, LAC, NCC, EMDR

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications

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