Mental health is an integral part of our health and well-being. No matter how physically healthy we are, but if we are in a constant tug of war in our head, it is likely to take a toll on us. We hear the terms depression and anxiety quite often. Even if we are feeling sad or too overwhelmed by our emotions, we consider ourselves depressed. Mental health disorders are one of the common contributors to the disability of a human being to be a productive part of society.
Depression is one of the common mental health issues affecting millions of people every year. Manic depression and depression were often confused with some similarities, but there is a significant difference between the two. Manic depression today is known as a bipolar disorder associated with extreme emotional highs and lows, including mood swings. The emotional highs are periods of mania, and the lows undermine the periods of depression. Bipolar disorder is not a rare diagnosis. It affects 2.6 percent or more than 5 million US population. People with bipolar disorder can experience periods of extreme energy and hyperactivity and extreme sadness or depression.
The DSM-V (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) identifies bipolar disorder with three categories: bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, and cyclothymic disorder. These types have significant differences and a variation in the signs and symptoms. Usually, the signs of bipolar disorder start appearing in the late teens or early youth. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. Its incidence is more common in women than in men. It can be hard to diagnose, but a mental health professional with a MAPP degree can help in identifying the following signs, and their treatment can delay its onset.
Signs for highs/mania
Rapid speech and poor concentration
Have you ever noticed some changes in your concentration or focus lately? Do you struggle with keeping track of what line you are reading when skimming through papers? Our brain plays a substantial role in helping us focus on the tasks at hand and carry out our daily routine. We cannot recognize the visible signs of mental exhaustion and underlying mental disorder unless our body starts showing us signs. Losing focus and concentration is one of the signs of a manic episode of bipolar disorder. If you notice an evident change in the speech pattern of your colleague or friend, look for the pattern of speech. If it has suddenly shifted to rapid change, there might be an incidence of bipolar disorder.
Feeling overly happy or active
When we are happy, we are cheerful and feel good about ourselves for no reason. Our responses differ when we are unhappy. We all have good or bad days. Our good days can make us feel content or happy over a friend’s success or our promotion. Often on our bad days, we exhibit crankiness, tears, anger, and isolation. People undergoing bipolar disorder, especially the high tide of emotions, are overly happy and active. You will find them extra cheerful and talkative for no specific reason.
Whether we are going through a rough time in our life or anxious about something else, the first thing that we lose is our sleep. Losing sleep over some trouble does not happen frequently, but people suffering from mental disorders often face troubled sleep. For example, a person having a manic episode of bipolar disorder will often tell that they are sleeping less. And still, stay active all day than an average individual who might react cranky after a night of inadequate sleep.
Individuals in their manic episodes may also exhibit elevated self-esteem or grandiosity. They may engage in activities ending up with painful consequences like a massive shopping spree.
Signs of lows/depression
Losing interest and depressed mood
People going through the low period of bipolar disorder appear sad or depressed most of the time. They might continue their daily chores, but they won’t take an interest in whatever they do. In a severe or prolonged period of depression, they may appear down, hopeless, and empty. They might not know why they feel this way, but their condition won’t improve besides trying to cheer them up.
Decreased energy or fatigue
Often we feel sluggish or low on energy, but that condition may hardly last a day. On the other hand, people with bipolar disorder have prolonged exposure to decreased energy or fatigue. As a result, they may struggle to get up and carry their routine or act sluggish while at work.
Suicidal ideation or attempts
Prolonged emotional lows often lead to suicide ideation, and it can also be without a plan. The lows in bipolar disorder can last for more than a week, and in extreme cases, it can exceed a month. Depressive episodes and their intensity may cause such people to attempt suicide or experience recurrent suicidal thoughts.
Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder. Suppose a person has experienced the signs of mania or depression for more than two weeks. In that case, he or she may have bipolar disorder. The low period of depression resembles the signs of classic depression, making the diagnosis of bipolar difficult. The treatment protocol for bipolar disorder follows screening assessment to ensure that a person has bipolar disorder before starting their treatment and medication. The duration and intensity of high and low periods contribute to a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or counseling can help individuals identify their triggers or the signs they experience.
Mental health plays a vital role in the life of a person. A person with a healthy mind and body is more likely to have a better lifestyle. Thanks to researchers and psychologists’ constant efforts, we are no longer hesitant to talk about what’s going on in our heads. As a result, anyone who has a mental disorder can get all the help they need. For example, bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. Still, we can help individuals suffering from it by understanding what they are going through.
Read more: 8 Issues A Psychologist Can Help With