The people who don’t have to deal with physical or psychological ailments and who are generally healthy often take their health for granted. Although maintaining mental health requires certain considerations—diet and nutrition, physical exercise, and so on—these quickly become ingrained into day-to-day life and, therefore, don’t really require any effort or conscious thought. There are a number of afflictions, particularly those that are physical in nature, that can be mitigated by some change in diet or lifestyle, but there are also conditions that are chronic and which require more complex treatment. One such affliction is a psychological disorder known as bipolar disorder.
As human beings, we experience an entire spectrum of emotion. But our emotional states are arbitrary; instead, our emotions are a response to some type of stimulus. It’s some type of experiential or sensory factor—something that is provocative—that triggers an emotion or a transition from one emotion to another. However, there are some individuals—according to the National Institute on Mental Health, 5.7 million American adults or 2.6 percent of the U.S. population aged 18 or older—or are less able to control their emotions due to a condition called bipolar disorder. Formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is a psychological condition that is characterized by unpredictable, unprovoked changes in mood, energy, and ability to function. It can be very debilitating to a person and cause problems in many aspects of life and has been known to be present in a lot of people who have problems with alcohol or drugs. As such, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs of bipolar disorder.
With one’s moods being very unstable, it’s incredibly difficult for someone with bipolar disorder to remain focused for long enough periods of time to complete a given task. At times, the individual’s mind will race and, therefore, be unable to linger on any particular thought for long enough to finish it. Alternately, there are times when the individual is too distracted by depression or anger to be able to focus on a task. As a result, bipolar people often have difficulty with being productive or with consistent, sustained productivity for any significant length of time.
Bipolar disorder, as its name suggests, is the unpredictable cycling between high moods and low moods. The high moods are the good moods and are often referred to as a manic state, accompanied by seemingly limitless energy levels and high motivation. In this state, someone with bipolar may seem as if he or she has consumed an excess amount of caffeine and seems to be everywhere at once. At some points, the mood will likely seem uncharacteristically high and the individual will likely seem scattered as well, unable to concentrate since the high energy level is causing racing thoughts as well.
On the other end of the bipolar spectrum, an individual will experience intermittent lows. Depending on which type of bipolar the person has, the low periods could be characterized by severe depression or intense anger. The shift to this low state occurs very suddenly and is seemingly unprovoked. If you were to ask the individual the cause of this low mood, he or she would be unlikely to have an actual reason. During these low periods, people with bipolar are typically withdrawn and very distant from others.
When someone who suffers from bipolar disorder is in a manic state, the person experiences a major surge of energy that causes him or her to speak extremely quickly. In fact, the speech can be so quick that it may cause him or her to stutter and choke on his or her words, having trouble getting them to come out as quickly as the person wants to say them. And with his or her thoughts be erratic as well, the speech may seem disjointed or nonsensical.
Part of having bipolar disorder means frequently exhibiting some very erratic and oftentimes impulsive behaviors. This impulsivity typically occurs during the manic mood state and could entail suddenly quitting one’s job, going on an elaborate shopping spree during which the person maxes out all his or her credit cards, getting a tattoo, or a number of other behaviors that should be seriously considered beforehand. Moreover, the individual won’t likely see anything wrong with these behaviors since they don’t feel abnormal to him or her.
Due to the frequent manic states and rapid mood changes, people who suffer from bipolar disorder tend to have a lot of trouble sleeping. It’s not uncommon for those with bipolar to go multiple days in a row without sleep due to being in a manic state for an extended period of time. Alternately, it’s not uncommon for a bipolar individual to sleep for as little as two hours in a night, yet he or she wakes from that two-hour sleep feeling completely rested and energized. More often than not, the individual won’t show any evidence of sleep deprivation until he or she comes out of the manic state and is in the low state of depression or anger.
There have been numerous surveys to have found that there are elevated instances of addicts who also suffer from bipolar disorder. It’s difficult to say whether the bipolar disorder led to substance abuse and addiction or whether the habitual substance abuse caused bipolar disorder; however, the pervading theory is that people who suffer from bipolar disorder become more willing to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs in both the manic and depressive or angry states. When manic, bipolar individuals will sometimes use depressants to help them relax while those who are depressed or angry might abuse intoxicants in the hope that intoxication will make them feel better.
Bipolar disorder is just one of a number of psychological disorders that have been known to frequently occur alongside substance abuse problems. Both bipolar disorder and addiction have the potential to cause severe destruction in a person’s life, making it essential that anyone suffering from bipolar disorder or an addiction get the help they need to regain their independence. If you would like more information about addiction and mental health intervention, call Intervention Services toll-free at 877-478-4621. Whether it’s day or night, we’re ready for your call.