What is bipolar disorder? Despite being one of the most known mental health disorders many people still don’t exactly understand what bipolar disorder is. That person really liked me a few hours ago and now they hate me, do they have bipolar? That person is talking really fast and they wont stop, do they have bipolar? That person seems depressed half of the time but they sometimes seem normal, do they have bipolar? In this article I’ll take a look into bipolar disorder.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Someone with bipolar disorder will experience extreme mood swings. There are two distinct periods or episodes. One is the manic episode which is a period of over-activeness and excitement, the other is the depressive episode which is like depression where you will feel low, worthless or hopeless. People with bipolar disorder will shift between the two different episodes with stable times in between, but these episodes can last for several months. Some people will experience more frequent or longer episodes than other people with bipolar disorder, and some will experience more severe episodes of mania or depression.
Manic Episode… Not Mechanic Episode
Mania is often described as a period of at least a week of elevated mood. Common behaviours of someone having a manic episode are being easily distracted, speaking rapidly, feeling restless or agitated, having racing thoughts or participating in risky activities. These include misusing drugs, increased sexual activity or spending. Most people who are going through a manic episode will not show a majority of these behaviours, so don’t expect your friend with bipolar disorder to start taking drugs just because they are going through a manic episode. The manic episode can be less obvious in many people which is why bipolar disorder can often be misdiagnosed as depression at first.
Depressive Episode Is Like Depression, Right?
Someone suffering from depression and someone going through a depressive episode of bipolar disorder can essentially show the same symptoms as each other, however like the manic episode it is possible that two people going through the same phase can show different symptoms. Like with depression, someone who is going through a depressive episode may feel constantly sad, unable to enjoy things, worthless, hopefully or irritated. Everyone may feel these feelings throughout their lives but someone with depression will generally find these feelings are much worse and last a lot longer than usual. Suicidal thoughts and feelings might also increase during a depressive episode.
Oh No! It Sounds Like A Have Bipolar Disorder!
Don’t panic! Bipolar disorder has only been covered briefly in this article and there is not enough information in here to be sure whether you can the disorder or not. Remember only a doctor can officially diagnose you so if you are worried or concerned you should book an appointment with your GP to discuss it further. You can research bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses on the internet for more information, but you cannot be sure until you see a doctor.
My Friend Or Family Member Has Bipolar Disorder, How Can I Help?
One of the most important things you can do is support them, make sure they start or continue to receive medical support. Medication and counselling can help to lessen the effect of both manic and depressive symptoms. Besides medical support you should talk to them and see what they want from you, they may not know or they may not want help but respect their wishes, knowing you have someone to talk to is one of the greatest things you can have when suffering from a mental illness. If the friend or family member is going through difficult times, or you think they are a danger to themselves or others, you should tell someone to make sure things do not escalate. Their health is very important, but make sure you do not get too obsessed with helping them as that will be bad for your health.
This post is part of my Blogging A to Z April Challenge. The theme today was “bipolar” as today was the letter “B”. Tomorrow I will talk about my experiences with CAMHS counselling (and that counsellor I talk so much about), so follow and come back tomorrow for the post!