It is normal to have ups and downs occasionally, but some individuals experience episodes that may be more severe and could be a sign of a condition known as bipolar disorder. This condition can cause extreme variations in mood, from manic to depressive episodes. These extreme mood changes can be distressing and overwhelming, and have a significant impact on daily life.
Bipolar disorder once referred to as manic depressive disorder, mainly affects mood. There are different types of bipolar disorder which depend on the severity of symptoms and how moods and symptoms are experienced. Bipolar disorder causes a person to experience episodes or cycles of different mood states, including:
- Manic or hypomanic episodes
- Depressive episodes
- Mixed episodes (experiencing symptoms of depression and mania at the same time or in quick succession to one another)
- Psychotic symptoms
Episodes may last for days, weeks, or months. Severe or intense episodes or mood changes can interfere with performance at work or school, relationships, and the ability to function in everyday life.
A manic episode can usually last for a week or more and can impact your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, at times disrupting or even stopping them completely. Severe mania can be serious and may need to be treated in a hospital. Hypomania is similar to mania but can feel more manageable and often lasts for a shorter time than a manic episode. It also doesn’t include any psychotic symptoms. Although hypomania is less severe than mania, it can still have a detrimental effect on quality of life, and people may notice changes in your mood and behavior. When experiencing a manic episode, it may cause you to feel:
- Happy or euphoric
- A strong sense of wellbeing
- Uncontrollably excited
- Very energetic even with very little sleep
- Extremely irritable or agitated
- An increase in sexual energy
- Easily distracted or unable to concentrate
- Extremely confident, more adventurous, or have grandiose beliefs
- Impulsive or have impaired judgement
- Reckless and not think about consequences
In severe cases, you may experience psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. Not everybody experiences psychotic symptoms with bipolar disorder, and it tends to be more common during manic episodes. Psychotic symptoms can include delusions such as paranoia or hallucinations such as hearing voices and can feel very real at the time.
During a manic episode, it can cause you to do things that are reckless or out of character, such as impulsively quitting your job, overspending on credit cards, or taking serious risks with your safety. Other behaviors may include:
- Being more active than usual
- Being very friendly
- Losing social inhibitions
- Talking rapidly (so others can’t keep up) or jumping from one idea to the next
- Saying or doing inappropriate things
- Being rude or aggressive or picking fights
- Misusing drugs or alcohol
- Sleeping very little or not at all
Following a manic episode can leave you feeling unhappy or ashamed about your behavior, very tired, and in need of a lot of rest. You may only have a few distinct memories of what happened during your manic episode. You may also have made commitments or taken on responsibilities that now feel unmanageable or nonsensical.
A depressive episode may follow a manic episode and can leave you feeling extremely down, upset, tearful, agitated, and tense. A depressive episode can feel much harder to deal with than a manic episode. If there are extremes between the high and low moods, it can make the depression seem even worse. During a depressive episode, you may no longer find enjoyment in the things you used to, and you may also feel excessively tired and lethargic. You may suffer with other feelings such as hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness and low self-esteem, as well. In severe episodes, you may even feel suicidal.
If you experience signs or symptoms of bipolar disorder, speak to your doctor. Bipolar disorder doesn’t only affect mood, it can also affect energy levels, sleep patterns, memory, judgment, concentration, appetite, sex drive, and self-esteem. It has also been linked to anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and migraines.
Comprehensive Psychiatric Care in New York
At Psy-Visions, we offer comprehensive services for a full spectrum of psychiatric, behavioral, and emotional disorders. Our experienced psychiatrist, Dr. Stracks, is here to offer you the effective care you need. To find out more about the services we offer, call our New York office today at (718) 887-2918 or use our confidential online form.