Bipolar Disorder: What It Is, Its Symptoms, And How To Manage It

Bipolar Disorder: What It Is, Its Symptoms, And How To Manage It

Do you experience intense mood swings? Do your emotions take over your life and well-being? Do you experience periods of extreme euphoria and excitement only to come crashing down into a fit of severe depression or lethargy? If so, then you may be living with bipolar disorder. 

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health disorder that severely affects the life of the individual affected as well as their loved ones. It is categorized by extreme mood swings that make it difficult to function normally each day. 

If you believe that you or a loved one may have bipolar disorder, then read on to learn more about this disorder, its symptoms, and some management and treatment options. 

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a serious psychological condition that makes the affected individual experience extreme swings in mood. They can have extreme highs and then quickly shift into extreme lows, making it difficult to manage the normal stressors of daily life. The high periods are known as manic episodes, and the low periods are known as depressive episodes. 

It is important to note that these are not typical mood swings. Instead, they are quite drastic and interfere with daily life. They completely alter a person’s lifestyle, habits, and outlook, depending on which moods they are experiencing that day. 

Bipolar disorder is typically diagnosed when someone is in their early teens or twenties. However, it can develop at any age. Those who have experienced trauma or use drugs and alcohol are more likely to develop this disorder. 

Bipolar disorder is split into three types: Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder. The differences between these types are based on the severity, length, and frequency of the mania or depressive episodes. You can learn more about these types of bipolar disorder, as well as more general information about bipolar disorder, over at BetterHelp.

Now that you know the basics of bipolar disorder, let’s move on to some of the symptoms. 

Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms will differ depending on if the person is experiencing a manic episode or a depressive episode. Therefore, if you wonder if you or a loved one may have bipolar disorder, then pay attention to the behavior exhibited during both states.

Symptoms that occur during mania include:

  • Intense feelings of excitement, joy, or happiness
  • Insomnia or other sleeping issues or disorders
  • Being very wired or restless
  • Nonstop racing thoughts
  • Difficulty concentration
  • Easily distracted
  • Being very talkative and speaking very fast
  • High self-esteem
  • Impulsiveness

After experiencing this manic episode for a while, a person with bipolar disorder will plunge into a depressive episode. Symptoms that occur during this time include: 

  • Feelings of sadness, depression, guilt, worry, or hopelessness
  • Apathy
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Forgetfulness
  • Severe changes in sleep patterns and diet
  • Indecisiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of suicide**

**If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7.**

How To Manage Bipolar Disorder

Though there is no cure, there are ways that you can manage bipolar disorder. For many people, their mood swings and symptoms can be managed simply by making some healthy lifestyle changes. Others may need professional help in the form of therapy or medication prescribed by a psychiatrist. Below are some common management strategies for bipolar disorder. 

  • Stick to a schedule: Those with bipolar disorder tend to function better when they stick to a daily schedule. Therefore, you should keep your day orderly and scheduled instead of open. 
  • Get plenty of sleep: Sleep deprivation makes mood swings much worse. Therefore, keep to a consistent sleep schedule to ensure you are well-rested and to encourage calm and stability. 
  • Exercise: Exercise is well-known for improving mood. Furthermore, it promotes good physical health, which in turn encourages good mental health. Exercise at least thirty minutes per day, five times each week for best results. 
  • Eat Well: Eating a healthy diet promotes emotional stability and good mental health. Furthermore, you should avoid excess sugar, sodium, and carbs as well as caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and drugs. These substances can make your mood swings worse and make you feel like you are not in control. 
  • Manage stress: Stress encourages emotional distress and mood swings. It’s hard to stay calm or happy when you are stressed out. Utilize calming activities like meditation or tai chi, and do your best to minimize stressors in your life. 
  • Therapy: If developing a healthy lifestyle is not enough, then you may need to work with a therapist or psychiatrist. They will be able to help you develop strategies to manage your emotions or find good treatment options for your mood swings. 
  • Medication: One treatment option is medication prescribed by a psychiatrist. They may prescribe mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, or antidepressants, depending on the severity of your symptoms and your medical history. 

Bottom Line

Bipolar disorder is a difficult condition to live with. Moods can change at a moment’s notice, and the affected person has little to no control over these changes. Though these mood swings are painful, there are plenty of management strategies and treatment options that can bring an affected person more calm and stability. Marie Miguel Biography


Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.