How to Tell if a Loved One Has Bipolar Disorder
We all have our set of mood swings, and don’t feel on top of the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but when do these changes in mood add up to bipolar syndrome?
Identifying possible bipolar disorder
For a person to be suffering from bipolar disorder, there should be both highs and lows, of mania and depression. An unusually high-energy phase followed by a terrible low. If it is one or the other state alone that is experienced, then, it is not a sign of bipolar disorder. A manic phase or a period of high self-esteem and great mood should be one that lasts at least one week. The person feels all powerful during the manic period and doesn’t need to sleep too much. Your loved one could be very talkative, with a flood of ideas; they might even go on a shopping spree. The high should not be induced by drugs to be called a manic phase.
Hopelessness and emptiness
During the depressed phase, the same person will feel empty, completely hopeless and lost, for at least a couple of weeks. The phase is characterized by weight changes and more sleep. Guilt, low levels of concentration and fatigue are also symptoms of this depressed phase.
If you have a loved one, a friend or colleague who has several unfinished projects that were started in a manic phase and abandoned, it could be a sign of bipolar disorder.
If the person’s mood varies as a reaction to changes in his or her situation, it is likely that he or she does not have a bipolar syndrome. It is not as if people with bipolar disorder are not affected by situational shifts or changes, but they don’t often need any outside triggers or causes.
No clear patterns
However, there are no clear patterns; sometimes the person could start off with a crash in mood brought on by a painful event and then get into an unbeatable high. The one way to differentiate between moody and bipolar is the duration and the intensity. If the person does not have a bipolar problem but is having a moody phase, you will notice that the intensity and duration are not all that high.
If your loved one has too many such phases, and you feel there are signs of depression, irritability, inability to finish everyday simple tasks, alternating with extreme chattiness, addictions – alcohol and drug among others – you should seek the help of a therapist or a psychologist.
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