10 Signs You Might Be Bipolar

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterised by severe mood swings. It is estimated that just over 1% of the UK population suffers from the condition and it affects a greater proportion of women than men. There are several types of the disorder, but the two main types are:

Bipolar I disorder – where at least one manic episode has occurred which may have been preceded or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes.

Bipolar II disorder – where at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode has occurred, but no manic episode.

Those with bipolar disorder alternate between depression and hypomania (or mania in the case of Bipolar Disorder I) in between periods of stability.

If you are experiencing mania, you feel invincible, extremely upbeat, jumpy and talkative and it’s hard for everyone else to keep up with you.

Hypomania is a milder form of mania. You are in a good mood and feeling energised but it’s under control. It can however sometimes develop into mania.

What are the signs of bipolar disorder?

  1. Changes in sleep and eating patterns – from one extreme to the other – either regularly eating far too much or hardly at all; sleeping all day or being wide awake all night.
  2. Racing thoughts and speech – your brain is working overtime and your mouth can’t keep up, you’re babbling.
  3. Restlessness – you can’t sit still for longer than a few minutes and your attention span is very short.
  4. Overconfidence – you think you’re superman/woman and can do anything, no matter how unlikely or impossible.
  5. Impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks – dropping everything to do something you wouldn’t normally do, such as blowing all your savings on a sports car or starting an affair.
  6. Feelings of hopelessness – when you can see nothing positive in life.
  7. Withdrawal and lack of interest – wanting to be alone; nothing which used to give you pleasure in life such as being with family, music, hobbies, sport whatever it may be, no longer holds any attraction for you and life seems pointless.
  8. Difficulties with concentration and decision-making – your manic period ends and suddenly you’re in the throws of depression and are unable to concentrate and focus, everything becomes an effort.
  9. Decreased need for sleep – if you normally need your eight hours but now find four or five hours are enough to enable you to function without feeling tired or having any effect on your cognitive performance.
  10. A pre-occupation with death and possible thoughts of suicide – you’re thinking excessively about those who have died and about your own mortality, and how you might die either naturally or by suicide.

At Private Psychiatry, we help many patients manage their bipolar disorder and to live normal, fulfilling lives. If you would like us to help you or a loved one, please get in touch.

Further information on the symptoms of and treatments for bipolar disorder can be found in our series of videos featuring consultant psychiatrist, Dr Adrian Winbow.

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