Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by sudden, drastic mood swings. These shifts in mood shift from euphoric highs to depressive lows and vice versa. Millions of people across the United States have bipolar disorder. Its onset generally occurs in the teen or early adult years. Signs of bipolar disorder fall into two categories: those related to depression and those related to mania.
If you or someone you love is struggling with bipolar disorder, reach out to 866.273.5017 to learn more about how South Tampa Psychiatry can provide support.
Signs of Mental Health Disorders
Bipolar disorder is a distinct and complicated mental health disorder. Nonetheless, a body of research has clarified common early signs that apply to mental health issues in general, including:
- Excessive sadness, worry, or fear
- Sudden and major changes in mood or personality
- Social avoidance
- Changes in sleep or eating habits
- Suicidal thoughts
Looking out for these early markers is key to seeking timely help for bipolar disorder or any other mental health disorder. In addition, teens, the age group at the highest risk of developing a mental health disorder, may present a set of unique warning signs based on their life phase. These may involve suddenly worsening school performance or unexpected behavioral issues.
Bipolar Disorder in Men and Women
In addition, it can be helpful to keep in mind some of the differences in bipolar disorder’s onset and experience between men and women. The first factor is that onset generally occurs earlier in men. The onset of bipolar disorder late in life, beyond age 40, is also more likely in women.
In addition, men are less likely to seek treatment while women are more likely to be misdiagnosed. Unfortunately, mania is often harder to spot in men, but not because its presence isn’t also a sign when it comes to men. Instead, it mostly has to do with gender stereotypes. The behavior present with mania is more socially acceptable when it presents in men versus women, and doctors may overlook it when they’re identifying the underlying problem.
Depressive Signs of Bipolar Disorder
Depressive signs of bipolar disorder may appear as any combination of the following:
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Cognitive issues related to memory and/or concentration
- Loss of interest in hobbies or normal activities
- Pervasive sadness
Bipolar disorder is hard to diagnose because so many of its symptoms overlap with depression. In fact, as many as one in five people who see a doctor for depression actually have bipolar disorder. Further complicating the picture is that bipolar disorder may not always follow the manic-depressive cycle it is known for.
Manic Signs of Bipolar Disorder
The other side of bipolar disorder is mania. Mania is a stage of bipolar disorder where a person experiences extreme emotional highs. Some of the manic signs of bipolar disorder are:
- An extended feeling of extreme happiness or a “high” sensation
- Decreased need for sleep
- Restlessness or distractibility
- Impulsiveness or uncharacteristic risk-taking
While elements of these manic signs of bipolar disorder may present as positive, anyone experiencing these early warning signs should still seek help. Not only do they often put a person in danger or decrease overall wellbeing, but the depressive side of bipolar disorder can also sweep in to replace mania at any time. Swings in the mood for people with bipolar disorder are unpredictable and can have devastating consequences.
Seek Treatment at South Tampa Psychiatry
The first step to seeking treatment is recognizing that you are struggling and need help. The early signs of mental health issues described above can act as a guideline. But even if what you are experiencing does not neatly fit into a category, it is best to be cautious with your health by seeking support as early as possible.
Our bipolar disorder treatment programs are designed with the patient in mind, putting your comfort and care first during every step of the process. You deserve a life of wholeness. Reach out to us at 866.273.5017, or contact us online to take your first step toward healing.