Bobby was on fire at his new job the first few months. He managed a pawn shop’s online merchandise, and he almost doubled his predecessor’s pace. Twenty-four hours a day, he was on his game. When he was not working, Bobby was partying all hours of the night. Life was good until out of the blue, it was not. The next day, he could barely drag himself out of bed. Now, accomplishing even the smallest task at work feels impossible. Bobby has barely eaten, but he is sleeping almost all the time.
Bobby’s friends and family members are concerned. The dramatic shift in his mood and behaviors does not seem normal. They think something more serious may be happening to Bobby—they think he may have bipolar disorder. A serious mental illness, bipolar disorder brings people through a cycle of depression and then a cycle of mania. Almost six million people in America suffer from a form of bipolar disorder, and many have reached out to a mental health professional for treatment. There are effective treatments for bipolar disorder, and many people who have it live a fulfilling and happy life.
Thriveworks Westminster has seen many people overcome the challenges of bipolar disorder. These clients worked with our therapists to set up the social, emotional, and physical support they needed to live the life they want.
Signs of Bipolar Disorder
Understanding what bipolar disorder does to a person is an important part of healing. The dramatic shifts in an individual’s state of mind can feel confusing and mysterious, but mental health professionals are learning more and more about this illness. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) details the diagnostics for bipolar disorder and gives a picture of what it is like to live with it. Bipolar disorder is named such because there are two (Bi) extreme moods that people can cycle between. One is depression, and the other is mania. The DSM-5 gives specific descriptions for each.
People may be experiencing a depression cycle when they feel sad, empty, and/or weepy as well as disinterested in everyday life throughout most of the day for a period of two weeks. Within this time period, they must also experience a minimum of three of the following:
- Thoughts of death and/or suicide.
- Indecisiveness and an unfocused attention span.
- Rapid or retarded psychomotor activity (such as slurred speech or nervously tapping one’s fingers).
- Difficult and persistent feelings of guilt, shame, and/or worthlessness.
- Drained stamina and energy.
- Fluctuations in weight and/or appetite—either a drop or a gain.
- Hypersomnia or insomnia.
Mania is the other mood people with bipolar experience. The cliché of mania is euphoria—the opposite of depression. For some people, this is their experience, but for others, mania is experienced as a rush of irritable feelings. The DSM-5 describes a manic cycle with the following diagnostics:
- An abnormal and exceptional mood that includes either elation or contentiousness and lasts for a minimum of one week.
- For a euphoric mood, at least three of the following should be present to be considered mania. For an irritable mood, four should be present.
- Excessive talking.
- Making detailed and obsessive plans to accomplish vast personal and professional tasks.
- Engaging in risky and potentially dangerous behaviors that put their financial, emotional, physical, and sexual health in harm’s way.
- Racing thoughts that will not calm.
- Rarely sleeping yet still experiencing frenetic energy.
- Quickly jumping from one topic to another.
- An inflated sense of self.
- The result of these moods in a person’s life must fulfill one of the following to be considered mania:
- Inducing psychosis.
- Disturbing daily functioning.
- Necessitating a hospital visit.
- If these signs are a result of a drug or medication, then the mood may not be mania.
Within the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, there are a variety of sub-diagnoses. One example is Bipolar II. People who have Bipolar II may experience deeper and longer bouts of depression and then swing to hypomania, a muted form of the mania symptoms outlined above. Working with a mental health professional to receive the correct diagnosis for you is an important art of the healing process.
Schedule Treatment for Bipolar Disorder with Thriveworks in Westminster, CO
Working with a trusted therapist is one of the keys to living your life instead of the life Bipolar dictates. Individuals who receive a serious diagnosis in their physical health need to work closely to formulate a treatment plan with their doctors, and so do people who receive a serious mental health diagnosis. The therapists at Thriveworks Westminster have worked, step-by-step, with many clients who have Bipolar Depression. Our staff is professional and experienced, but we also care about each client and finding a treatment that works for you, as an individual.
We accept many forms of insurance and offer convenient after-hour appointments. Your focus should be on healing, not on navigating the scheduling process. Contact Thriveworks in Westminster, CO today.