The past year has been pretty bizarre for Mollie—even scary. For a few weeks, she could barely bring herself to leave her house. All she wanted to do was cry and stay in bed all day. Mollie even considered taking her life, but things have really reversed course for her, almost completely. It is almost as if Mollie just came to life—in an extreme way. She has been working at a little boutique part-time, and doing well. In fact, the manager gave her a full-time position and said she was like a ball of fire, accomplishing so much. Mollie has been making new friends and going out at night—sometimes all night.
Mollie’s loved ones are glad she is working a job she loves and making new friends, but they are also concerned. These extreme moods she has experienced do not feel healthy to them. Something feels off, and they are wondering if she might have bipolar disorder. About six million people in the United States swing between mania and depression and then back again—they have Bipolar Disorder. Their behavior may feel unpredictable, scary, and bizarre to their loved ones and even to themselves.
“My recovery from manic depression has been an evolution,
not a sudden miracle.”
– Patty Duke
Many people who are Bipolar receive the care they need—and effective treatments are available. In fact, many people are thriving despite their Bipolar diagnosis. Thriveworks Peachtree City has helped many of our clients find the support they need to overcome the challenges that come with this disorder. We have walked with clients as they find their correct diagnosis and a treatment plan that fits their life.
Bipolar Depression: Understanding the Symptoms and Finding the Right Diagnosis
A severe mental illness, Bipolar Depression cycles people through bouts of depression and mania. It is sometimes referred to as manic depression because those are the two (bi) poles of any Bipolar Disorder. There are several subcategories of diagnosis within Bipolar Disorder. It is critically important for people who think they may have Bipolar to work with a mental health professional to find their particular definition.
Nonetheless, gaining a general understanding of Bipolar Disorder can be helpful in understanding what you or your loved one may be experiencing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) details the diagnostics for Bipolar Depression which includes a description of both mania and depression. Weepiness, sadness, or emptiness will characterize a person’s emotional life during a depression cycle. Indifference and apathy toward everyday life will also be experienced along with a minimum of three of the following:
- Appetite fluctuations with accompanying shifts in weight.
- Difficulty focusing and making decisions.
- Hard, negative emotions like guilt, shame, or worthlessness.
- Persistent thoughts of death and/or suicide.
- Disrupted sleep—insomnia or hypersomnia.
- Fluctuations within one’s psychomotor activity (e.g., slowed, slurred speech or rapid toe tapping).
- Arrested energy or stamina.
Unfortunately, the descriptions for Bipolar does not end here, as if the depression cycle were not enough to deal with. Bipolar always comes with some form of mania. The DSM-5 gives the following descriptions of mania:
1. Mania is a frenetic mood that can be happy or it could be irritable. This elevated state of mind lasts for at least one week.
2. When people experience mania as irritability, then four of the following symptoms must also be present. When people experience mania as happiness, then three must be present:
- Unfocused attention.
- Little sleep yet extravagant energy.
- Thoughts and feelings that continually swirl around one’s mind.
- Excessive and increasing talkativeness.
- Obsessively organizing and planning for a goal in one’s person or professional life.
- An over-inflated ego and self-aggrandizement.
- Dangerous and risky behavior—personally, professionally, sexually.
3. The mania phase will result in at least one of these outcomes:
- Hospitalization as a precaution to harm or to treat caused injuries.
- Psychosis, hallucinations, or delusions.
- Disturbance of daily functioning.
4. Finally, drug use or other medications cannot be the cause of these behaviors.
Working with a mental health professional to find a diagnosis is paramount for treating Bipolar Disorder because these are various subcategories of the illness. One example is Bipolar II where people experience hypomania (a less severe form of mania), but they may have longer and more intense depression cycles. The diagnosis will inform the treatment plan, and an experienced, skilled therapist should be able to help.
Schedule an Appointment for Bipolar Disorder at Thriveworks Peachtree City
As you read through the description of Bipolar, did you recognize the two cycles? Maybe you or a loved one is struggling. Maybe you have a diagnosis and are looking for a trusted therapist. Maybe your own behavior feels scary and overwhelming, and you want to know what is happening. In either case, Thriveworks Peachtree City has professionals who have experience diagnosing and treating Bipolar Disorder in all its various forms.
If you are ready to meet with a therapist, we are ready to meet with you. When you contact our office, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We offer evening and weekend appointments. We also work with most insurance companies and take most insurance plans. Our office never keeps a waitlist, but our desire is to provide our clients the care they need when they need it.
Let’s get started. Call Thriveworks Peachtree City today.