Bipolar Disorder

What do you think of when you hear the term “Bipolar Disorder?”  Many people use this term as a derogatory remark and don’t think twice about it. 

It is very important to realize that this is a mental illness that can be quite serious in nature.  It is not ok to refer to this diagnosis when you do not like someone’s behavior.

Bipolar Disorder consists of episodes of depression (lack of energy, feelings of hopeless), followed by episodes of mania (having too much energy, difficulty with concentration, irritability, intense anger, acting impulsively, taking risks).  Sometimes, the mood swings are less pronounced and it is demonstrated by a great deal of irritability and agitation.  Ultimately, Bipolar Disorder can be difficult to diagnose.

It is important to realize that it is natural to have mood swings.  Environmental stressors, the typical “bad day,” and a variety of life events may cause these mood swings.  It is a concern when the mood swings are causing family problems, difficulty with daily functioning, problems at work, legal problems, or using alcohol or other drugs to control mood.

Bipolar Disorder is treatable with therapy and medication.  Often, you cannot identify a person with Bipolar if they are working to maintain their mental health. Unfortunately, there are people who do not respond well to therapy and medications and struggle on a daily basis.  Basically, the severity of Bipolar Disorder is on a continuum.

If there is a concern that you or your loved one has intense mood swings or simply intense moods, for that matter, it would be beneficial to have a mental health assessment to closer examine the situation.

Think twice before you refer to someone as “Bipolar.”

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