It’s been a joke in our family. When someone is acting strange for whatever reason or has done something funny, we tell that person – “You’re bipolar”. It’s meant to tease the person and to have a laugh about it. But in reality, bipolar disorder is no laughing matter. It is a very serious mood disorder and people who suffer from it need professional help.
There are many types of mental health disorders and each manifest its own characteristics. There’s the behavioral disorder like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, among many others. As for bipolar disorder, it is not a personality disorder.
Personality Disorder encompass Paranoid Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder and many more. Bipolar Disorder is not among that cluster because it is a mood disorder like Major Depression, Dysthymia and all types of mood disorders. There is a big difference between personality and mood disorder because the latter is pushed by depression, brain chemical imbalance and stress. It is also a genetic disorder meaning it can be passed on from parent to child.
The most common response, if you ask the about signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder is extreme happiness and extreme sadness, a change of mood in a snap. There is a truth to that. Mental health professionals call it the Manic-Depressive Disorder or Manic Depression. It is when person experiences two moods at its most extreme, one after the other.
A person can be very happy now, lively, enthusiastic and his energy levels are at an all-time high. And then, something happens that triggers his mood change. He will then become lethargic, depressive, very sad and don’t want to move a muscle. That’s a clear indication of Bipolar Disorder.
The point is that it’s not normal. Can you imagine being with a person who is always “on”? He or she can be very jumpy, elated, excited, full of energy, happy and “all of the above”. A regular person is not supposed to be that way in an extended period. And this is the side effect. When the “happiness episode” wears off, the “depressed episode” moves in. The person will be very irritable, agitated, unhappy and truly depressed.
Now, is that normal? This is why Bipolar Disorder is termed as a psychiatric disorder by experts because the people suffering from it cannot control their condition. They can’t help how they feel until they are being treated for it and are under medication.
He or she will have unstable relationships and that’s because the person will be difficult to deal with. If the disorder comes out earlier for the person, then, his or her schooling performance may be affected. He or she will also have problems at work.
People with Bipolar Disorder act impulsively and this can cause their financial downfall. They may even perform criminal acts because of their BD (bipolar disorder). When they are in their depressed state, the person may use prescription or even illegal drugs to numb his senses. He or she will also resort to self-harming and possibly, suicide.
A person’s Bipolar Disorder will be full-blown with signs and symptoms by the time their 25 years old. It is also difficult to diagnose Bipolar Disorder because other conditions may be assumed since it relates to some mental health disorders. The best way to deal with this is to contact a team of professionals who are experts in the treatment of Bipolar Disorder. You can start with your medical physician who can then refer you to a psychiatrist and from there, plan the best intervention program for you.