According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 4.4% of Americans will have bipolar disorder at some point. While patients with the condition can thrive and enjoy an excellent quality of life, they usually need treatment to stabilize their mental health symptoms. Whether you suspect the illness in yourself or a loved one, the list of red flags below will help determine if you need to speak with a therapist or psychologist.
Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
1. Shifting Moods
Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood changes. People may feel depressed for a period of a few days, weeks, or months before shifting into mania or hypomania. During a manic episode, the individual may feel happier or more energetic than usual. At this time, they may experience a flight of ideas, which often feels like their mind is racing. They may also be motivated to start new projects or hobbies, only to eventually become depressed again.
2. Frequent Irritability
People who are bipolar may suddenly feel resentful, annoyed, or testy. This is especially common during a mixed episode when both symptoms of depression and mania are present at the same time. While it is normal to feel exasperated or irritable after a tough day, these emotions may occur for days at a time. Many patients also say they experience anger and anxiety for seemingly no reason
3. Sleeping Difficulties
During a manic episode, it is possible for people with the condition to rest very little or stop sleeping. They may still have energy even though they are staying awake. Conversely, during a period of depression, it is common for patients to oversleep or feel tired all the time.
4. Abnormal Behavior
A manic episode can trigger erratic actions like spending too much money or having promiscuous sex. People experiencing mania may even quit their job, get into physical fights, or begin gambling. These behaviors are often uncharacteristic of the person when they are depressed or healthy.
5. Substance Abuse
Bipolar patients often use drugs or alcohol to cope with their depression or mania, or because of their erratic behavior. Psychologists often refer to a combination of mental health disorders and substance abuse issues as comorbidity. Thankfully, both of these challenges can be treated by a professional.
While the symptoms of bipolar disorder cause a significant disruption in a person's life, medications, therapy, and life changes can get the patient back on track. Lincoln Psychiatric Group in Nebraska offers therapy and psychology services for mental health patients, so they can reduce or eliminate symptoms and enjoy a better life. To make an appointment, call (402) 476-7557 today. For information about their services for depression and anxiety, visit the website.