Bipolar is one of the most common severe mental disorders in the United States. Medical experts say that it's essential for bipolar patients to follow it up with the treatment methods. The mental disorder of bipolar generally induces symptoms like depression, mania, mood swings and even mixed episodes. Here are the 10 unmistakable signs to understand if you have this disorder.
1. Irritability and anger
Irritability and anger are common symptoms of bipolar depression. Irritability can be defined as an inability to control mood swings that result in anger, frustration or annoyance.
The reason why irritability and anger are common symptoms of bipolar depression is because they are caused by the same thing, which is changes in brain chemistry.
Bipolar disorder causes changes in brain chemistry that affect emotions, thinking and behavior. During mania, people with bipolar disorder have elevated levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. In contrast, during periods of depression there are low levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. This causes mood swings between mania and depression.
2. Losing interest in activities that you once enjoyed
It can be extremely difficult to enjoy the things you used to love when you're depressed.
Just as having bipolar disorder can make it difficult to enjoy your favorite activities, it can also cause you to lose interest in doing things that you don't normally enjoy. This can include household chores, work responsibilities, or even spending time with friends or family members who do not understand your condition.
When you're feeling depressed, it's easy to feel like nothing matters anymore—that life isn't worth living and everything around you seems pointless and unimportant. But this is just another symptom of bipolar disorder; there are many people out there who suffer from the same condition as you do.
3. Sleeping too much or too little
Sleeping too much or too little is one of the most common symptoms of bipolar depression. The reason why it is so common is because bipolar depression can make you feel exhausted and unmotivated, so it's not uncommon to find yourself sleeping in more than usual.
If you're just experiencing a temporary bout of insomnia or you have been diagnosed with an illness that makes it hard to sleep, then these are not symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, if you've been having trouble getting enough sleep for weeks on end and it's interfering with your daily life, then you may want to consider speaking with your doctor about your options.
4. Fatigue or lacking energy
Bipolar depression is a form of major depressive disorder. You may not be able to pinpoint the exact reason for your fatigue, but it can be easy to assume that you’re just tired from working hard all day. However, if you feel this way even when you’re not working at all, it could be a sign of bipolar depression.
Feeling fatigued is one of the most common symptoms of bipolar disorder, as well as depression and anxiety disorders. When you have bipolar depression, it can feel like you’re dragging yourself through your days without any energy or motivation at all.
When we’re feeling depressed, it’s common for us to think that we need to sleep more or eat certain foods more often in order to increase our energy levels again. While these things can help us feel better temporarily, they don’t treat the underlying cause of our fatigue.
5. Eating too much or not enough
When you're depressed, it can be hard to eat. You may not feel like eating at all, or you might feel too tired or too sad to even think of getting food.
But if you don't eat enough, your body will start to shut down. And that can make your depression even worse.
Eating enough is important for everyone — especially if you have bipolar disorder. If you skip meals or eat too little, your body will start using up its fat and muscle for energy. This can make your body weaker and cause problems with your heart, kidneys and other organs.
If you don't eat enough calories and nutrients from food, your brain won't get the fuel it needs to function correctly. This can make it harder for you to concentrate and remember things — which makes it harder for you to take care of yourself and manage stressors in your life.
6. Thoughts of death or suicide
This is one of the most serious symptoms of bipolar disorder. Thoughts of death or suicide are not just thoughts — they are plans.
People with bipolar depression often think about suicide and make plans for it. They may write down their plans, such as how much money they want to leave for their children or who will get their car. These people do not want to die but feel that they have no other way out of their problems.
Suicidal thoughts are common during both mania and depression in bipolar disorder. People who have manic episodes may feel suicidal because they can't stop feeling so good and worry that something terrible will happen to them as soon as they do so. People who have depressive episodes may feel suicidal because they feel so bad about themselves, their lives, and everything else that they think death would be better than continuing to live like this forever.
7. Withdrawal from friends and family
People with bipolar disorder often withdraw from social activities and relationships with others. The symptoms of bipolar depression are similar to those of unipolar depression, but there are some key differences.
When bipolar people are depressed, they may isolate themselves from the world. They may not want to leave their homes or spend time with anyone else. They may avoid going out or participating in activities that help them meet people like work, school or church.
They might also stop talking to friends, family members and other people who were once important in their lives. This behavior can be dangerous because it prevents people from getting needed support and treatment for their illness.
8. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
You might think that your friends and family are disappointed in you, or that no one cares about how hard you work. The truth is that they all love and care about you, but they don't know the real reasons behind your feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
That's because those feelings are usually a sign of bipolar depression, which means that your brain is producing too much serotonin—the neurotransmitter that regulates your mood. This causes your body to feel sluggish and tired all the time, which makes it hard for you to get out of bed in the morning or stay awake at work during the day.
9. Unexplained aches and pains
One of the most common symptoms of bipolar depression is physical pain. It's not something you can always see, but it's very real.
People who are manic often report having achy joints and muscles, headaches, digestive problems and other physical symptoms that aren't related to any known medical condition.
The most common reason for this is decreased energy levels, which can lead to decreased activity levels — and less exercise (and movement) means less blood flow through the body. This can cause muscle stiffness and tension, which can lead to aches and pains in your muscles and joints.
Bipolar Depression also increases inflammation within the body — think swelling in the throat or sinuses when you have a cold or allergies. Inflammation leads to pain throughout your body as well as fatigue or exhaustion after even minor activities like walking or standing up too long.
10. Self-medication with alcohol, drugs, or food
Self-medication is a common coping mechanism for bipolar depression, but it’s not the best option.
This is a common coping mechanism for bipolar depression. If you’re struggling with bipolar disorder and also have depression, you may feel like you need an escape from your symptoms. However, self-medicating in the form of alcohol and drug abuse or binge eating can actually make your bipolar symptoms worse in the long run — in addition to causing other health problems.
Self-medication refers to people using substances to relieve their symptoms without getting medical advice from a doctor or therapist first. There are many examples of self-medicating that aren’t always harmful. For example, if someone has a headache, they might take an aspirin rather than waiting until they can see their doctor or taking over-the-counter pain relievers that don’t require a prescription. The problem arises when people use substances like alcohol or drugs inappropriately to try and cope with their illnesses instead of going through proper treatments that are known to be effective at treating mental health disorders such as depression.
The ten signs of bipolar depression presented above are not meant to be diagnostic. However, if you see a majority of them in someone you know, it might be a good idea to seek help for that person. If the person is you, try to lower your stress and look into treatment options.
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