Definition: a mental disorder that involves extreme mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs
- Manic Symptoms
- Increased self esteem and grandiosity
- Decreased need for sleep
- Increased talkativeness
- Inability to focus
- Increased risk-taking and goal-driven behavior
- To be considered a manic episode: symptoms must be severe enough to disrupt daily life and are not caused by medication or substance use
- To be considered a hypomanic episode (less severe than manic): symptoms are severe enough that other people notice, but it does not cause a severe disturbance in daily life
- Depressive Symptoms
- Overwhelming or constant feelings of depression
- Lack of pleasure in doing things
- Significant weight loss without trying
- Excessive sleeping or need for sleep
- Lack of energy
- To be considered a major depressive episode: symptoms disrupt daily life and are not caused by medication, substance use, or a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one
- For more symptoms of depression/depressive episodes, see [link to depression article]
Statistics and more Information
- Prevalence: very common (more than 3 million US cases every year). You are not alone!
- Bipolar disorder affects a wide range of ages, most commonly between 14 and 60 years
- Sadly, there is no cure for bipolar disorder; however, medication and lifestyle changes can help you live a great life. Remember that your disorder does not define you – you are an amazing individual, and you should love yourself for the many strengths and blessings you have. 🙂
How to feel better: In addition to seeking professional help, here are some things you can do right now to improve your mood.
- Avoid unhealthy relationships. This isn’t just referring to abusive boyfriends or girlfriends – do you have any friends who make you feel bad about yourself or constantly push you to do things you don’t want to do? If so, it might be time to reevaluate your relationships with the people around you and cut out those that are toxic to your wellbeing. Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
- Get plenty of exercise and sleep. Both sleep and exercise have been linked to better mental health, although the connection might seem a little strange at first. While the function of sleep is still a bit of a mystery, it is clear that it improves mood and concentration, decreasing feelings of depression. Exercise gets the blood in your body flowing, giving you more energy. It also releases endorphins, which make you feel happy.
- Food matters. See [link to 8 foods that boost your mood] for a list of tasty and healthy foods that naturally elevate your mood. Herbal diet supplements such as St. John’s Wort also appear to help with bipolar disorder specifically, but not much research has been done on them yet. So while herbs are definitely an option, it’s best to consult with your physician first.