Without warning, Doug is having a hard time. At work, he cannot stay focused on any single task. Even checking little things off his to-do list feels impossible, which is strange to Doug because he is usually so productive. Doug started as an online sales manager at a pawnshop a few months ago. The first three months, he crushed the previous manager’s eBay sales numbers. Sure, Doug barely slept, but he did not want to stop. Now, it is like the opposite is true. Doug’s energy has dried up. His friends are worried too. They used to go out partying, but now Doug barely leaves his house.
Doug’s friends are understandably worried. The dramatic shifts in mood and energy that Doug has experienced may be a sign that something deeper is plaguing him. Doug may be struggling with Bipolar Depression, a mental illness where people shift between episodes of high, frenetic energy and low, depressed moods.
Bipolar Depression may feel like scary words, but many people who have this diagnosis are able to find the treatment they need. Like any other illness, they often must work closely with a mental health professional to arrive at a particular diagnosis and to formulate an effective treatment plan, but with help and support, many people with Bipolar lead productive, happy lives.
Thriveworks Grand Rapids understands the challenges that Bipolar Depression introduces into a person’s life. We have worked with many clients to help them find a tailored treatment plan that meets their particular diagnosis of Bipolar and their particular needs. We want to help.
Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms and Signs
When people experience extreme shifts in their mood—from normal to euphoria to despondent to irritable to forlorn to normal—they may have Bipolar Disorder. These shifts can feel erratic and incomprehensible. Often, people with Bipolar scare themselves and their loved ones with their own behavior. It is important to remember, that Bipolar is a serious mental illness. People who have this diagnosis deserve care and patience.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) has outlined the symptoms of Bipolar Depression, and these diagnostics can help people with Bipolar as well as their loved ones understand what they may be experiencing. There are two sets of criteria: those that outline depressive episodes and those that outline manic episodes. People must have experienced both episodes to have Bipolar Depression.
During Bipolar’s depression cycle, people experience an empty, sad, weepy, and/or generally low mood and a lack of interest in daily activities for a period of two weeks. In addition to the depressed and disinterested mood, people must also experience at least three of these signs:
- Changes in one’s weight or appetite—an increase or decrease.
- An inability to stay focused or make a decision.
- Escalated or slowed psychomotor activity—possibly rapid finger tapping or slower speech.
- Deteriorating energy and stamina.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia—sleeping too much or being unable to sleep.
- Desperate and powerful feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness.
- Repetitive thoughts of death and suicide.
This depressive phase must persist for a significant portion of each day during a continuous, two-week period. However, depression is but one side of the coin when it comes to Bipolar. The depressive phase will give way to mania.
Manic episodes are, at times, stereotyped as euphoric highs, and they can be. However, many people experience mania as intensified emotions of irritability and anger. The DSM-5 describes mania as follows:
- An extraordinarily state of irritation or jubilation that persists for at least one week.
- When the state is jubilant, then three of the following symptoms must be displayed to be considered mania. If the state is irritable, then four signs must be experienced.
- A mind that never settles.
- Drastically reduced need for sleep.
- Attention that cannot focus.
- Planning obsessively toward goal-directed activities.
- Excessive talking.
- An overly inflated sense of self.
- Potentially harmful or risky behavior.
- A drug or medication cannot be responsible for causing these behaviors.
- These signs must be so severe that they do at least one of the following:
- Disturb an individual’s personal or professional life.
- Cause a hospitalization.
- Psychosis is experienced.
Bipolar Depression is not a singular diagnosis. There are many versions of the illness and subcategories within the different types. Just as a patient with diabetes must work closely with doctors to find treatment, so working with a mental health professional is key for treating Bipolar Depression.
Getting Help for Bipolar at Thriveworks Grand Rapids
As you read through the description of Bipolar Depression, did any of the symptoms of mania or depression sounds familiar? If so, you are not alone. Many people have Bipolar Depression, and they are finding ways to thrive. A serious mental health diagnosis like Bipolar means people will need significant support, and that support is available. There are groups in-person and online that can help people understand their illness and process what is happening to them. There are also caring and trained professionals ready to formulate a treatment plan that could help you. Thriveworks Grand Rapids has appointments available for Bipolar, and our professionals are ready to help.
When you reach out to our office, you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. We offer weekend and evening appointments. We also work with most insurance providers to keep the cost of treatment as low as possible.
Let’s work together for healing. Contact Thriveworks Grand Rapids today.