All of a sudden, Austin is having difficulty at work. He started this new job a few months ago, and at first, he was on-fire. Austin took over the online sales department at the local pawn shop where he works. In his first two months, he tripled his predecessor’s sales numbers. Austin spent 24/7 working eBay and finding new ways to move his product. He did not stop. Literally. Austin barely slept, and his mind was always racing. But about three weeks ago, it was like a flip switched. His frenetic energy has become a dry well of lethargy. Austin cannot focus. Accomplishing even the smallest task feels like moving a mountain, and he just wants to sleep all day.
Austin’s family members and friends are starting to worry. They think something bigger is happening to Austin because this drastic change in mood and demeanor does not seem healthy. They wonder if Austin may have a form of Bipolar Depression.
Almost six million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and while those words feel scary to hear, there are effective treatments for this severe mental illness. Many people are working closely with a therapist to find a diagnosis that explains their behavior and a treatment that allows them to manage their symptoms. Many people with Bipolar live the lives they want, as Carrie Fisher once described, “Bipolar disorder, it’s a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life.”
The therapists on staff at Thriveworks Marietta understand the particular difficulties a Bipolar diagnosis can bring into an individual’s life. We also understand that those difficulties can be overcome. Our mental health professionals have worked with many clients to find the right diagnosis and the right treatment plan that allows them to live their life on their terms—not Bipolar’s.
Signs and Symptoms for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness wherein people cycle between two extreme moods—mania and depression. These cycles often feel confusing and erratic, and people who suffer with it deserve the utmost patience, empathy, and care. Understanding how the illness works is often an important part of healing for both the individual who is diagnosed and their loved ones. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines how both the mania and the depression of Bipolar Disorder can look within an individual’s life. It details the criteria for both mania and depression. People who have Bipolar Disorder will experience both.
The depression phase of Bipolar is characterized by empty, weepy, and sad feelings that result in a generally depressed mood and disinterest in everyday life. This mood should last for the majority of the day and for a continuous two weeks. Individuals will also experience at least three of the following:
- Powerful and overwhelming emotions such as guilt, shame, and/or worthlessness.
- Fluctuations in appetite or weight—either a gain or a loss.
- Declining fortitude and energy.
- Accelerated or retarded psychomotor activity—e.g., nervously and rapidly tapping one’s foot or slurred speech.
- Unfocused attention and indecisiveness.
- Sleep disruptions—the inability to sleep or possibly sleeping too much.
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death.
One of the most difficult realities of Bipolar Disorder is that this depressive cycle is but one phase of the illness. The other phase is mania. At times, mania can be stereotyped as a frenzied glee—all happy, all the time. While some may experience mania as such, it can be frenetic euphoria or irritability. The DSM-5 explains the criteria:
- An unnaturally high mood of either jubilation or anger that last for a minimum of seven days.
- If the mood is euphoric, the DSM-5 requires three of the signs listed below to be present for the mood to be considered mania. If the mood is irritability or anger, then four symptoms are required.
- Racing thoughts that will not slow, rest, or settle.
- A substantially smaller need for rest and sleep.
- An attention span that hops from subject to subject.
- Furiously making plans to achieve long-forgotten personal and/or professional objectives.
- Loquaciousness, especially compared to the amount an individual speaks when not in a manic mood.
- A self-image that is over inflated and aggrandized.
- Behavior that could be harmful and/or risky.
- These signs cannot be attributable to the physiological effects of drug use or a medication to be considered mania.
- These symptoms must result in one of the following within an individual’s life to be considered mania:
- Disruptions in one’s ability to live daily life.
- Hospitalization in order to treat or prevent harm.
- A psychotic episode.
Within Bipolar Disorder, there are many subcategories for diagnosis. Working closely with a therapist is usually an important part of finding the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Therapy for Bipolar Disorder with Thriveworks Marietta
If you are ready to work closely with a mental health professional to figure out what may be happening to you, the therapists at Thriveworks Marietta are ready to work for you. If you have already been diagnosed with Bipolar Depression and want a skilled, caring mental health professional on your team, the therapists at Thriveworks Marietta are ready to work for you.
When you contact our office, you may have your first appointment the following day. We offer evening and weekend appointments, and we work with most insurance providers.
Let’s find a treatment plan that works for you. Contact Thriveworks Marietta today.