Brett started a new job a few months ago, and the first few weeks were incredible. It was almost as if he were in a dream—he could not be stopped. Brett doubled the sales performance his predecessor had set. He lived and breathed his work, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A few weeks into the job, a flip switched. Brett could not even accomplish the most simple task or concentrate for any length of time. He has already used up his sick leave for the whole year because there are just some days Brett cannot get out of bed. His friends and family are concerned about him, and even Brett is confused. These extreme swings in his mood do not feel healthy. They are beginning to wonder if something deeper is occurring, if maybe he has Bipolar Depression.
“Depression is a painfully slow, crashing death.
Mania is the other extreme, a wild roller coaster run off its tracks.”
― David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family
About six million Americans have been diagnosed with a form of Bipolar Disorder. There are various sub-diagnoses within this mental illness, but they all involve dramatic shifts between two extreme moods—mania and depression. Working with a mental health professional is paramount for living with this illness because effective treatments are available. Many people are living happy, successful lives and managing their Bipolar.
The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Austin understand the difficulties that a Bipolar diagnosis can introduce into a person’s life. We also understand the psychological, emotional, social, and physical help people need to accomplish their personal and professional goals—living the life they want.
Bipolar Disorder: Signs of Mania and Depression
As bewildering as Bipolar feels to those diagnosed with it as well as their loved ones, mental health professionals are learning more about this mental illness all the time. Understanding is often an important part of healing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) gives detailed descriptions of Bipolar’s depression cycle and mania cycle. These diagnostics are not just helpful to clinicians, but to people who are living with Bipolar or think they may have it.
During the depressive cycle of Bipolar, people will feel an empty, weepy, and/or sad mood that remains for the majority of the day and for a period of at least two continuous weeks. In addition, they will experience severe disinterest in everyday life as well as three (at least) of these symptoms:
- Suicide idealization and/or constant thoughts about dying.
- Overwhelmingly difficult emotions—shame, guilt, and/or worthlessness.
- Depleted energy and/or stamina.
- Retarded or hyper psychomotor activity (For example, slowed ability to write or possibly rapidly tapping fingers).
- Differences in one’s appetite and/or weight.
- Difficulty making a decision or focusing.
- Sleeping all the time or barely sleeping.
Depression is but one phase that people with Bipolar will experience. The other is mania. Euphoric highs and frenetic positivity is the stereotype of a mania episode, but often, people feel the elevated mood as irritation and anger—not positivity. The DSM-5 outlines mania as follows:
- An elevated mood that could be either contentious or elated. This frenetic mood will persist for at least seven days.
- During an elated state of mind, the elevated mood will have a minimum of three of the following. During a contentious mood, four of the following will be present:
- Increasing loquacity.
- Obsessive and detailed planning for personal and professional goals.
- Possibly harmful actions that put one’s emotional, financial, physical, and/or sexual health at risk.
- A mind that races and cannot calm down.
- Increasing energy despite little to no sleep.
- Bouncing quickly between tasks and thoughts…always moving.
- An enlarged self-esteem.
- The consequence of mania within an individual’s life will result in at least one of the following:
- Hallucinations or psychosis.
- Disruptions in one’s daily life.
- A hospitalization to treat or prevent harm.
- To be mania, these symptoms cannot be the physiological effects of a medication or drug use.
Bipolar Disorder is an umbrella with many sub-diagnoses that can more specifically describe what a person may be experiencing. For example, some people experience a more severe depression cycle and a less severe mania cycle. These people may have Bipolar II. One key to managing Bipolar is working closely with a mental health professional who has experience in diagnosing and treating the various forms of Bipolar Disorder.
Appointments at Thriveworks Austin for Diagnosing and Treating Bipolar Disorder
As you read through the symptoms of mania and depression, did anything sound familiar? If you have experienced shifts in your mood that feel extreme and overwhelming, know that help is available. If you have been diagnosed with Bipolar Depression, know that help is available. Just as someone with a serious physical health diagnosis needs the help and support of their doctors, so anyone diagnosed with a form of Bipolar Disorder needs the help and support of a mental health professional. Thriveworks Austin has provided that guidance to many clients.
If you are ready to work with a mental health professional, we are ready to work with you. New clients usually have their first appointments within 24 hours of their first call to our office. We also accept most insurance plans as well as offer convenient weekend and evening appointments.
Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Austin today.