The symptoms of bipolar disorder (BD) can become dangerous for individuals and their loved ones if left untreated. Periods of manic and depressive behavior can lead to a severe mental health crisis. According to StatPearls Publishing, “Patients amid a manic phase commonly engage in goal-directed activities that may result in harmful consequences, such as spending excessive money, starting businesses unprepared, traveling, or promiscuity.” In addition, “Many patients engage in property damage or even harm themselves or others through verbal or physical assaults.” Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention can help by providing evidence-based treatments and crisis stabilization.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Misdiagnosis is a common problem for individuals with bipolar disorder due to the overlapping symptoms it shares with other mental health disorders. According to MedlinePlus, “Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that can cause intense mood swings,” and other symptoms, including:
- Manic or hypomanic episodes
- Depressive episodes
- Risk-taking or self-harming behaviors
Everyone responds to manic and depressive episodes differently, meaning the side effects often vary significantly from person to person. In many cases, individuals and their families struggle with financial loss, relationship issues, social stigmas, and other challenges due to BD.
The Different Types of Bipolar Disorder
Multiple forms of BD exist, and the symptoms for each have a unique impact on everyday life. You may have a rare type of bipolar disorder which can make it difficult to get essential treatment and resources. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention can help by ensuring you get an accurate diagnosis and personalized care.
Below are brief descriptions of each type of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar I: Severe mood swings and fluctuation between episodes of mania and depression.
- Bipolar II: Milder fluctuations between hypomania and major depression.
- Cyclothymia: Much more mild and brief periods of hypomania and depression.
- Rapid Cycling Bipolar: Four or more distinct episodes within a year. Rapid cycling increases the risk of suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviors.
- Bipolar With Mixed Features: Hypomanic and depressive episodes that may feature unusual mood swings that fluctuate between polar opposite states.
- Bipolar With Seasonal Pattern: The episodes follow a seasonal pattern, with most people feeling depressive during the winter and manic or hypomanic during the summer.
- Unspecified Bipolar: Does not meet the criteria for the other types of bipolar while experiencing extreme mood shifts and distinct emotional phases.
The overlap of symptoms can increase the risk of misdiagnosis. However, the dedicated care team at Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention uses multiple assessments and screening tools to diagnose clients and help them find the right treatment plan.
Warning Signs You May Have Bipolar Disorder
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports, “Most of the time, bipolar disorder symptoms start during late adolescence or early adulthood.” However, some children may also experience symptoms of BD. Some of the known warning signs include:
- Racing thoughts and difficulty remaining in the moment
- Sudden bursts of energy
- Exaggerated self-confidence
- Uncharacteristically talkative
- Abrupt changes in sleep patterns, primarily lack of sleep or insomnia
- Making rash decisions and not thinking long-term
- Feeling disinterested in things
- A loss of joy and engagement
- Self-isolating behaviors
If you notice these signs in yourself or someone you love, reach out to a medical professional for an official diagnosis. Bipolar disorder can be successfully treated using personalized mental health care. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention can help you learn to cope with BD and thrive in recovery.
Primary Symptoms and Side Effects
The primary symptoms of BD vary, depending on what form of BD a person is diagnosed with and how they cope with their condition. Clients in treatment take prescribed medication to manage the symptoms and usually have much less severe side effects compared to individuals with untreated BD. Below are some symptoms of both the manic and depressive aspects of bipolar disorders.
Symptoms of mania or hypomania can include the following:
- Excessive energy and activity
- Uncharacteristically rapid speech
- Reckless behavior
- Elevated mood or irritability
- Decreased need for sleep
- Grandiose thinking
Some of the symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sadness or feelings of emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
- Unusual changes in appetite and weight
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating and maintaining focus
- Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness
In most cases, symptoms can be successfully managed using talk therapy, medications, and other treatments.
How to Get Help During a Crisis or Manic Episode
Treatments for bipolar disorder usually have a better outcome if an individual seeks help as soon as they notice something off with their behaviors and thought patterns. However, most people either do not recognize the severity of their condition or do not have the resources to get help right away. In those cases, people get the support they need until they experience a mental health crisis.
If you or someone you love have struggled with the effects of bipolar disorder, you can recover. Treatments, including psychotherapy, medication, and alternative holistic therapies, reduce side effects. We can help you establish healthy coping skills to stabilize your moods, behaviors, and thoughts.
Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders worldwide. Millions of people struggle with it each year, and if the disorder goes untreated, it can cause severe emotional distress and physical health issues. If you or someone you love show signs of bipolar disorder, reach out for help to decrease the risk of experiencing a mental health crisis. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention provides crisis stabilization and personalized care to ensure clients have access to the support and tools they need to heal and manage their condition. Our compassionate team of mental health professionals can help you or your loved one find ways to manage bipolar disorder. To learn more, call us today at (866) 986-1481.