Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings - from overly “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.
Symptoms of Mania
- Increased energy, activity, and restlessness.
- Excessively “high,” overly good, euphoric mood.
- Extreme irritability.
- Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another.
- Distractibility, can’t concentrate well.
- Little sleep needed.
- Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers.
- Poor judgment.
- Spending sprees.
- A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual.
- Increased sexual drive.
- Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications.
- Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior.
- Denial that anything is wrong.
This information was taken from the International Bipolar Foundation. For more information about bipolar disorder, visit the International Bipolar Foundation website.
How to Help Yourself
- If you notice these symptoms in yourself, seek further assessment by a mental health professional. Treatment is available and you can get better.
- Try to separate yourself from your symptoms. You are not your diagnosis but a person struggling with a diagnosis.
- Teach your family and friends about how they can be supportive and helpful. Consider asking for feedback from family and friends about changes in behavior to look for that may signal a crisis. Tell family and friends how they can be supportive in helping you cope with crises.
- Maintain a regular schedule with healthy lifestyle choices including regular sleep, healthy food choices, and avoidance of alcohol, drugs and risky behaviors.
- Treatment of Bipolar Disorder – International Bipolar Foundation
- Bipolar Disorder – National Institute of Mental Health
- Bipolar Disorder – Help Guide
If you feel you need help with bipolar disorder or any of the factors associated with it, please contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 850.474.2420 or visit our center in Building 960, Suite 200A, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to set up an appointment.