Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition that impacts a person’s mood. It’s a very serious disorder that can have a huge impact on a person’s ability to handle even basic activities, and yet, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that the condition is difficult to identify in the early stages. Often, the symptoms a person feels can be explained away, and some people might even be able to hide their distress from the people they love. As a result, it’s not uncommon for people to spend years or even decades engaged in a battle against bipolar disorder, and they might even turn to addictive drugs as they look for solutions. Thankfully, astute family members can spot the signs, and when they do, treatment providers can develop intensive programs that could help.
Intense moods characterize bipolar disorder, but the way in which the condition manifests can be quite different in different people. In fact, there are four different types of bipolar disorder that experts recognize, and each separate subtype has its own specific symptoms to contend with.
Those who have bipolar I disorder have what some might claim is the classic form of the disease. These people have intense periods of creativity and energy in which they might not need to sleep, eat or rest. They may seem jumpy and twitchy, able to shift a conversation from one topic to another and back again, while engaging in reckless behavior, including:
Spending Huge Amounts Of Money
Driving Too Fast
Sharing Intimate Information On Social Media
Buying Stocks And Bonds Without Researching The Activity
Quitting Or Starting Jobs
Having Sex With Strangers
These episodes of mania are contrasted with depressive episodes in which people feel so low and sad that they simply can’t get out of bed and face the day. They may consider suicide, or they may feel as though they’re worthless, hopeless or helpless. Making decisions is difficult, and planning for the future often seems futile for people in the depths of depression.
People with bipolar I disorder may have normal or balanced moods in the midst of these extremes, but they may not be able to control the shift from one spot to another. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance suggests that one or two cycles like this per year is common, and that mania typically takes place in the spring or fall, when the seasons change.
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