Bipolar Disorder More Than Just Ups and Downs

Bipolar Disorder affects 6 million adults in the United States. Many mistake the disorder for normal “ups and downs,” but in reality, receiving professional treatment is critical. Normal changes in mood are part of living and everyday life situations, but having bipolar disorder can cause mood swings that interfere with the ability to maintain relationships, jobs, mental and physical health – untreated, the disorder can have a negative impact on all aspects of a person’s life.

Bipolar Disorder versus Normal Ups and Downs

While there may be some similar symptoms and complaints between what is normal and what is not, there are specific differences experienced between the two as highlighted below:

  • Bipolar characteristics include seasonal changes in moods that tend to correspond to changes in the seasons, rapid cycling between moods which may be four or more drastic mood swings within a single year, development of psychosis
  • Normal ups and downs include moments of sadness following a traumatic event that may last for weeks, experience a lack of interest for once enjoyed activities, occasional mood swings which do not occur more than four times a year or which do not change a person’s life or the lives of those around them

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

While there are two poles of bipolar identified, major depression and mania, there is also a transitional period called hypomania where a person many find they feel good and are in better control of their behaviors. Some of the common symptoms reported for the two poles of the disorder follow:

  1. Major Depression issues include
  • Frequent crying
  • Sleep pattern disturbance
  • Emotional numbness
  • Having self-hatred or self-loathing
  • Loss of interest in previously important relationships or activities
  • Decreased libido or sexual dysfunction
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Having thoughts of suicide or making a suicidal attempt
  • May experience general anxiety or social anxiety
  1. Mania may include
  • Irrational thoughts and ideas
  • Poorly thought out decisions
  • Reckless or thrill-seeking behaviors
  • Easily irritable or agitated
  • Decreased sleep time
  • Substance abuse
  • Feeling overambitious to the point of detriment
  • May have delusions of grandeur, symptoms of psychosis, anger or frustration
  • May have physical symptoms such as pacing, twitching, weight loss, excess sweating
  • Racing thoughts from one thing to another

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

There is no cure for bipolar disorder; however, treatment can help to prevent the occurrence of episodes as well as control symptoms. The disorder will not clear up on its own although many patients avoid treatment – in the manic phase of this disorder they do not think that they have an issue, and during a depression cycle they either think help is not possible or that they do not deserve to be helped.

Bipolar Disorder Psychiatrist

Treating bipolar disorder is a challenge just in having the patient accept treatment, but help is available and treatment can be successful. Working with a trained psychiatrist who is able to accurately diagnose bipolar disorder is the first step in the treatment process. Call the office for a comprehensive and confidential evaluation.

About Darvin Hege

Dr. Darvin Hege, MD, PC, is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is an Emory Hospital residency trained psychiatrist who has been practicing psychiatry for more than 25 years. He maintains over 50 hours of AMA certified education each year to stay informed of advances in psychiatry.

View posts by Darvin Hege