Facts about bipolar disorder

BIPOLAR disorders are real illnesses that involve extreme shifts in mood called mania (elevated mood) and depression (state of sadness).

Some common types of bipolar disorder include bipolar I, bipolar II, rapid-cycling bipolar, mixed bipolar and cyclothymic disorder.

Here are some facts as shared by mental health organizations.

A person living with bipolar disorder causes these thoughts and behavior during the “mania episode”

Thoughts
• Racing thoughts
• Unrealistic beliefs about one’s abilities
• Feeling invincible or “on top of the world”
• Excessive optimism
• In severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

Behavior
• Rapid speech
• Restlessness
• Extreme irritability
• Less sleep
• Impulsivity
• Engagement in risky activities
• Taking on more projects than usual

During the depression episode, it causes them to…

Thoughts
• Feel inadequate (not good enough)
• Feel extremely sad
• Feel guilty, irritable, lonely, empty, pessimistic
• Preoccupied with death or suicide
• Feels unable to focus or unmotivated

Behavior
• Withdrawal from social activities
• Decreased interest in sex
• Slowed speech
• Difficulty finishing or starting tasks
• Not keeping up with daily responsibilities

People with bipolar disorder says it feels like
• Being misunderstood
• Exhilarating. You finally feel like you’re normal until anger sets in
• Having so much energy that you stress out your mind and your body
• Things are going great and it’s scary because you know it will not stay that way
• The future quickly goes from bright to bleak
• When the mania burns out, you’ve got nothing left in you

Bipolar is not moodiness, or being overly emotional. It’s definitely not having multiple personalities or being a drama queen.

Like any other mental disorders, it is not a choice or a sign of weakness or a character flaw.

If one has been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, it is recommended that they be careful with the use of substances. Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine can affect sleep and may intensify mania. Alcohol can trigger mood changes, worsen depression and interact with medications used for treatment.

Physical activity is good for the mind and body. Walking is a one way to vent out extra energy and it can also boost mood.

Have a routine. Wake up, eat and sleep at the same time every day.

It will also be wonderful to find a support group where you can share you experiences, thoughts and feelings.

Visit and consult with your psychiatrist regularly.
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