Have you heard of bipolar disorder? Chances are you have; you have probably seen it portrayed in a sitcom or a drama, or heard it used casually to describe a wild, angry, or violent person. There may be some truth to these stereotypes, as bipolar manifestation can appear like this in some individuals. However, in these instances, bipolar disorder is largely being misrepresented. It’s not just about being crazy, sketchy, or ‘out-there’. The truth is, bipolar disorder is an intricate mental illness with a lot of nuances to it, and manifestation tends to vary between individual instances of the disorder.
Because of bipolar disorder’s wide variance of symptoms and behavior, it can be a difficult mental illness to diagnose, and therefore, difficult to treat appropriately. Officially, bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is present in approximately 2.6% of adults in the United States, based on information from the National Institutes of Health. However, it’s more than likely that the number is significantly higher, given the fact that bipolar disorder is quite easily misdiagnosed, overlooked, or even unreported altogether. This last barrier to diagnosis stems from the presence of negative stigma surrounding mental illness, the mentally ill as bad people.
When it comes to bipolar disorder, cases of misreporting arise largely due to the fact that bipolar symptoms can sometimes mimic other mental illnesses. For example, some indicators of bipolar disorder may present as factors of chronic anxiety or depression; in some cases, such indicators may be simply disregarded as moodiness. Generally, coworkers, family, and friends, or even the bipolar individual themselves may chalk up any symptoms to common outside stimuli, including things like being exhausted or overworked. Given that bipolar disorder expresses itself in ways like mere tiredness or irritability, it is quite easy to see how this happens.
If you suspect that you or someone you love is living with bipolar disorder, consider keeping an eye out for these nine subtle signs and symptoms. If you find that you experience them regularly, consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
Up and Down Moods
If often times you find yourself or a loved one has times where they go from a really great mood to a really terrible one over a period of days, that should be a red flag. Intense mood swings from high to low or vice versa are among the most telltale signs of bipolar disorder. This is especially the case if these significant changes in mood occur seemingly at random, without any particular significant event to set them off. People experiencing this symptom may go from laughing, smiling, and telling jokes to being silent and withdrawn, even reduced to tears.