26 Jan Do you Suspect a Loved One Has a Bipolar Disorder?
Have you ever wondered if your loved one is experiencing more than mood swings? The first step in supporting a struggling loved one is educating yourself. While you – nor this blog – can diagnose bipolar disorder, it’s worth looking for the signs and learning about treating manic depression.
Signs Your Loved One Could Have Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder was formerly known as “manic depression”. This mental health condition may cause your loved one to swing between extreme emotional or energetic highs and debilitating lows, called “mania” “depression” respectively.
Your loved one may struggle to maintain relationships, care for others (such as their children), or for themselves.
These swings could happen a few times a year or more frequently, lasting hours or weeks. From the outside looking in, there are some things you may notice that point toward this possible diagnosis.
Manic and Hypomanic Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
During the manic (or the milder hypomanic phase some people with bipolar have), you may notice the following symptoms:
- Unusually upbeat
- Seemingly endless energy
- Not sleeping much
- Exaggerated self-confidence, which may cause them to take dangerous risks
- Poor judgment
During this state, they may do something extreme, like put all their money into a bad investment, engage in risky sex, quit their job suddenly, or go on a shopping spree they can’t afford.
Depressive State Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
During this state, they may:
- Appear sad, despondent, or tearful
- Not enjoy anything they usually would
- Lose or gain weight rapidly
- Be unable to sleep (or sleep a lot)
- Seem lethargic all the time
- Be indecisive
- Talk about or attempt suicide
Tips to Speak with Someone Who May Need Professional Help
Learn what you can about bipolar disorder. It is important to understand that if your loved one has bipolar disorder, they may feel “bad” when depressed and “good” or “normal” when in a manic or hypomanic state. They can perceive treatment discussions as you not wanting them to be happy.
Obviously, that’s not the case. But not realizing this can lead to unproductive conversations about the condition or treatment of bipolar depression.
Listen and communicate your support. Let them know you’ll always love them no matter what.
Be patient. Learning to manage a mental illness can be a long journey. Treating manic depression often involves difficult conversations before things start to get better. If they’re receiving medication, it takes some time to get those doses right, and there is a delay in these medications taking effect.
Do encourage them to get help. The sooner we can start treating manic depression, the faster they can turn a corner. Getting help now can reduce years of damage this condition can cause for them and their family.
If you have further questions about treating Manic Depression or Bipolar Disorder, please feel free to contact us.