Bipolar disorder, formerly known as Manic Depression, is a prevalent long-term mental condition across the globe. It primarily leads to drastic, unprecedented mood swings, which include emotional lows and highs. That is, at one point in time, you can feel highly energetic, and in the next moment, your energy level drops. The highs correspond to mania, and the lows correspond to depression episodes.
These mood swings can disrupt someone’s daily life in several ways. While for some people, the signs are more prominent, some might find it challenging to spot. It is essential to spot the signs for someone to undergo treatment. Although bipolar is a long-term condition, someone can control their mood swings not to affect their lives. Most of the causes of this mental health disorder are involuntary. Most of the time, people are in denial of their condition due to the pre-installed mania.
To help you locate this draining disorder, we’ve listed some signs under the three primary symptoms of bipolar disorder.
What are the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
The symptoms of bipolar disorder differ from person to person and people of different age groups. The three leading signs of this disorder are Mania, Hypomania, and Depression. Now let us check out how you can spot these primary signs.
The term mania refers to a high-energy feeling of euphoria. It is generally followed by dramatic irritability. In other words, mania is one of the prime traits of bipolar disorder. Its conventional signs include (1):
- Unreasonably weird, jumpy, and excited
- Impatience; moving from one idea to another in seconds
- Denial to admit that there is an issue
- Faulty decision-making; casual shopping sprees, sex risks, substance abuse, gambling, etc
- Self-driven sleep deprivation
Hypomania is the prior or reduced stage of mania. In other words, hypomania symptoms are precisely those of mania but milder in effect. Identifying mania symptoms at the ‘hypo’ stage is even more challenging but fruitful for the patient (2).
Along with periodic mania, someone with bipolar disorder will show severe low energy symptoms, called depression. An episode of depression includes the following signs (3):
- A feeling of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Less interested in stuff they usually enjoy a lot
- Restlessness and fatigue
- Either excessive sleeping or insomnia
- Diminished concentration and decisiveness
- Contemplating about self-harm or suicide
- Abnormal loss or gain of weight
- Over-driven feelings of guilt
Determining or locating any of the above symptoms might indicate severe or mild bipolarity. However, bipolar disorder might come with other signs such as melancholy, psychosis, etc. These are relatively rare symptoms but not impossible.
Ways to keep bipolarity under check
There’s a lot one can do to manage mood swings caused due to bipolar disorder. Apart from therapy and medications, here are some self-driven ways to manage bipolar disorder:
1. Manage stress
Stress-induced anxiety can worsen the mood swings caused by bipolar disorder. Hence, taking some time off from the schedule is beneficial. However, relaxing in the form of recreation is not ideal. Effective relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation should be opted. A regulated and mindful session of breathing can help you alleviate stress to a great extent.
2. Monitor other medical conditions
Diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, etc., are prevalent among bipolar patients. Leaving these conditions untreated can exert more thrust on your mental health. Keeping other health conditions in-check is vital for controlling bipolar disorder.
3. Avoid substance abuse
Substance abuse is a standard escape route for people with bipolar disorder. Most people do not realize that this can aggravate the condition further. On the one hand, the medications do not work optimally due to excess alcohol or drug intake. Likewise, extreme consumption patterns can make your depression episodes last longer.
4. Eat well
Although there is no diet specified for people diagnosed with bipolar disorders, people tend to eat either a lot or very little. Maintaining a balance of food intake is essential. Hence, ensure ample consumption of necessary nutrients and minerals, and do not keep munching on your french fries.
5. Accustom yourself to a daily rhythm
Your sleep pattern and eating habits are affected detrimentally in the case of bipolar disease. On the other hand, getting into a daily rhythm that does not allow you to succumb to your mood swings is the best way out. Maintaining a daily set routine also works effectively in spotting a relapse. So, if you notice sudden diversions in your sleep and eating patterns, checking in with your therapist would be ideal.
6. Amend responsibilities, ask for help
If you feel overburdened at home or at work, do not feel bad for requesting help. Ask for a day off, or ask your partner to manage daily chores for a day. Overburdening is not correct under conditions like bipolar disorders. Therefore, make your life as simple as attainable.
So, conditions like bipolar disorders are less spoken about and aren’t considered to be as severe as they actually are. Considering early therapy can help you control this long-term issue better, spotting its signs is crucial. Make having conversations about these conditions normal. If you come across any such warning sign, getting treatment from mental health professionals should be your first thought.
Madelline completed her studies in community healthcare education. Apart from being a freelance writer, she also volunteers at the local non-profit organisations that help people suffering from mental disorders like depression and anxiety.