Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that affects the brain, and causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. People with Bipolar Disorder may experience moods ranging from feeling very elevated and energetic, which may be termed as “mania” or “hypomania”, as well as moods that cause depressive feelings and periods of heightened sadness. Below are some ways you can see what these manic and depressive moods may look like.
People having a manic episode may:
· Feel very “up,” “high,” or elated
· Have a lot of energy
· Have increased activity levels
· Feel “jumpy” or “wired”
· Have trouble sleeping
· Become more active than usual
· Talk really fast about a lot of different things
· Be agitated, irritable, or “touchy”
· Feel like their thoughts are going very fast
· Think they can do a lot of things at once
· Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex
People having a depressive episode may:
· Feel very sad, down, empty, or hopeless
· Have very little energy · Have decreased activity levels
· Have trouble sleeping, they may sleep too little or too much
· Feel like they can’t enjoy anything · Feel worried and empty
· Have trouble concentrating
· Forget things a lot
· Eat too much or too little
· Feel tired or “slowed down”
· Think about death or suicide
Ways to help loved ones who have Bipolar Disorder
· Educate yourself on the disorder. There are two different types of Bipolar disorder (I and II), so doing research and getting information from psychologists is important to know what your loved one is going through.
· Being a support for your loved one and guiding them throughout treatment. People with Bipolar Disorder may feel alone at times, especially when they are experiencing a depressive episode. It is important for friends and family to support them and encourage them to seek mental health treatment.
· Accepting your loved one’s diagnosis. This can be especially difficult for family members and friends to do, because this diagnosis can also affect other people around them. However, it is important to acknowledge your loved one’s limits, and understand that having Bipolar disorder will cause fluctuations in mood, and how to be prepared for when this happens.
· Be patient. Living with Bipolar Disorder isn’t easy, and therefore it is essential that the people who have this disorder get a lot of support from family and friends, letting them know that they’re not alone.
If you or your loved one is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or experiencing the symptoms, there are many resources available to assist in the process of support and problem-solving for you and loved one, including professional counseling. Call (215) 487-1330 or email us at Greenridge@intercommunityaction.org for more information about our counseling services, which include one-on-one therapy with a trained clinician.
Author: Kelsey Dailey, M.A.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2017). Bipolar Disorder: Definition, Signs and Symptoms. U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from: