Bipolar disorder is a condition of extremes, very happy, motivated and energetic high -and depressing exhausting lows. A person with bipolar disorder may be unaware they are in the manic phase, because they “feel good”, post episode, they may be shocked to hear about their behavior. However, at the time, they may believe other people are being negative or unhelpful.
No two people who live with bipolar disorder have the same experiences, some have more frequent and severe episodes than others.
The extreme nature of the condition means staying in a job may be difficult and relationships may become strained. There is also an increased risk of suicide.
Someone with bipolar disorder may experience strange sensations during episodes of mania and depression, such as seeing, hearing, or smelling things that are not there (hallucinations).They may also believe things that seem irrational to other people (delusions). These types of symptoms are known as psychosis or a psychotic episode.
For bipolar disorder to be diagnosed, a person needs to have experienced at least one manic (or in bipolar II, hypomanic) episode, and one depressive episode during their lifetime.
A manic episode (bipolar I disorder) is characterized by extreme happiness, extreme irritability, hyperactivity, little need for sleep and/or racing thoughts, which may lead to excited rapid speech. People in a manic episode feel like they can do anything, make plans to try and do all the things, and believe that nothing can stop them bordering on invincibility. For bipolar I to be diagnosed, this episode must have last at least a week and represents a definite noticeable change from a person’s usual behavior.
A hypomanic episode (bipolar II disorder) is characterized by the same symptoms as a manic episode, except the symptoms need to only have been present for at least four (4) days.
A depressive episode is characterized by extreme sadness, a lack of energy or interest in things, an inability to enjoy normally pleasurable activities and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. On average, someone with this condition may have up to three years of normal mood between episodes of mania or depression.
When left untreated, the severity of episodes can vary. People with this condition can often predict when a new cycle is starting, as the severity of their symptoms increase. This can also be noticed by family and friends who are familiar with the patters and symptoms.
If you think you or a loved one is living with Bi-Polar Disorder, we can help. Request an appointment below.