How to know if you have bipolar disorder? Bipolar disorder is a serious manic-depressive illness. Unlike the normal mood swings we all have from time to time, a person suffering from bipolar disorder will not feel any better after a few days. Instead, they will experience extreme shifts in mood that are so severe they usually cause terrible damage to all aspects of the person’s life.
Bipolar disorder affects about 1% of the adult population and the symptoms usually begin in adolescence and early adulthood. In many cases, it can be years before bipolar is diagnosed, but once it is, the illness can usually be treated and managed successfully.
How to know if you have bipolar disorder
Those who are suffering from bipolar are often so caught up in the severity of their symptoms that they are unable to recognise they have a serious problem. Other people will find them difficult to deal with and living with someone suffering from bipolar disorder can be extremely challenging.
The illness is characterized by intense and irrational mood swings. Typically a bipolar patient will go from an incredible high to feelings of sorrow and hopelessness within a short space of time, although the mood swings are usually accompanied by periods of normality. The high periods are known as episodes of “mania” whereas the low moods are depression, however, the episodes of mania are what characterizes bipolar disorder from regular depression.
During a manic episode, the patient will feel on top of the world and full of energy. They are likely to show a range of different symptoms, including irritability, provocative or aggressive behavior, an inability to concentrate, poor judgment and increased sex drive. During a depressive episode, the patient will feel sad, hopeless, worthless, guilty, tired, restless, and is quite likely to think about or attempt suicide.
Episodes of mania and depression can last for several weeks at a time and there are different levels of mania and depression—in the most severe cases the patient will exhibit the symptoms of psychosis.
How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?
Many patients with bipolar disorder experience other problems as a result of their mental state. For example, bipolar sufferers are more likely have a problem with substance abuse and interpersonal relationships, and in such cases, this can sometimes be a symptom of the underlying bipolar disorder.
Anyone showing the symptoms of bipolar disorder would normally have a psychological assessment based on their symptoms and family history. Because patients suffering with bipolar disorder are considered to be a high-risk suicide case, it is important that the illness is picked up as soon as possible to allow effective treatment to take place.
If you recognize the symptoms of bipolar disorder in somebody else, it is important that you seek help for them as it is very likely that they will not believe they have a problem. This is especially true if the person is showing any indications of suicidal tendencies and in such an instance, you should seek medical help immediately,