From out of the blue, Duke is struggling at work. He cannot focus, and accomplishing small tasks seems impossible. However, Duke has not always been this way. He is the sales manager for a pawnshop. He specializes in eBay sales, and when he first started the job, Duke was unstoppable. He outpaced any online sales manager the shop has ever had. Since those successful first few months, Duke has tanked. The frenetic energy that he had has seemed to run dry. Duke’s friends have noticed as well. He used to stay out almost all night, partying with them, but now he almost never leaves the house.
Duke’s friends are right to be concerned. His drastic swings in mood may be a sign that he has Bipolar Depression. This mental illness is sometimes called manic depression because people shift between high energy episodes and depression episodes.
While it can feel scary to think that you or someone you love may have Bipolar Depression, know that this mental illness has effective treatments. Many people find that the scariest part of having Bipolar Depression is before they are diagnosed, when their own behavior feels bizarre. With the help of a skilled mental health therapist, many people are finding the treatment they need to live with their Bipolar Depression.
The therapists, counselors, and psychologists at Thriveworks Sterling have helped many clients who have Bipolar Depression. Our professionals know what it takes to provide effective treatment for Bipolar, and we are ready to help.
Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms and Signs
When people swing from a despondent mood to a normal mood to a manic mood, these shifts can feel mysterious and incomprehensible both to themselves and their loved ones. Learning about the symptoms and signs of Bipolar Depression can bring considerable understanding and comfort. Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness acknowledged in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The key symptoms for a diagnosis have to do with the episodes of depression and mania people experience.
A depressive episode means people experience a sad, weepy, empty, or generally depressed mood as well as a substantial drop in concern about daily life and activities. At least three of the following must accompany the depressed, disinterested mood:
- Indecisiveness or an unfocused attention span.
- Declining stamina and energy.
- Changes in psychomotor activity—either slowed or rapid movements such as foot tapping, pacing, or speech.
- An inability to sleep or sleeping excessively.
- Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt.
- Appetite or weight changes—either a decrease or increase.
- Thinking repetitively of death, even suicide idealization.
When these symptoms persist for most of the day for a continuous period of at least two weeks, then they may mean a person is experiencing a depressive phase of Bipolar Depression. To truly be Bipolar, the person will also experience a manic phase as well.
The cliché of mania is euphoria, but the reality is that manic episodes of Bipolar depression can be a heightened irritability or elation. The DSM giving the following diagnostics for a manic episode:
- An abnormally jubilant or irritable state of mind that lasts for a minimum of one week.
- If the mood is euphoric, three of the following symptoms must be experienced. If the mood is irritable, then four must be experienced:
- Decreased need for sleep.
- A racing mind that cannot settle.
- Unfocused attention.
- Increased verbosity.
- Excessive planning and goal-directed activities.
- A swollen sense of self-esteem and grandiosity.
- Engaging in potentially painful or risky behavior.
- These symptoms cannot be the result of a substance’s physiological effects (e.g., medication or other drug).
- The severity of these symptoms must be disrupting to a person’s professional and personal life, necessitate a trip to the hospital, or cause psychosis in order to be considered manic.
Depending upon the symptoms that people display, there are various subcategories of Bipolar Disorder that could be diagnosed. Bipolar I is the clinical term for what most people think of as Bipolar Depression, but there are half a dozen subcategories with which someone with Bipolar I could be diagnosed. Bipolar II is another diagnosis. People with Bipolar II experience hypomania instead of full mania. While hypomania’s symptoms and duration may be less severe the full mania, people with Bipolar II may also experience worse bouts of depression. Working with a mental health professional to find the right diagnosis is very important for anyone who has or may have a form of Bipolar Disorder.
Bipolar Depression: Getting Help
The first step toward treating Bipolar Depression is working with an experienced mental health professional to find a diagnosis and treatment plan. Reaching out for help from a therapist is crucial. Bipolar Depression is a severe mental illness, and just as someone with cancer needs to work closely with their oncologist, so do people with Bipolar need to work closely with a therapist. Additionally, people who have Bipolar or have a loved one who has Bipolar should consider…
1. Cultivating a Support System. In addition to leaning upon a therapist, consider joining a support group for Bipolar. These can be found in-person and online, and many find they are a safe place to be real about the illness they are facing.
2. Focus on hope. Bipolar is a difficult diagnosis to hear, but many people have found relief. There are effective treatment options, and many people with bipolar live happy, productive lives.
Thriveworks Sterling: Appointments for Bipolar
Sterling has appointments available for Bipolar Depression. Our counselors and psychologists have extensive experience in helping Bipolar patients find relief.
If you have been diagnosed with Bipolar Depression or you think you may have it, Thriveworks Sterling is ready to help. When you contact our office, you may be meeting with your therapist within 24 hours. We also work with many insurance companies.
Let’s figure out how to thrive. Contact Thriveworks Sterling today.