Bipolar disorder is one of the most commonly misunderstand conditions in the mental health arena.
It’s portrayed in movies, TV, news, and pop culture. It’s also often misdiagnosed, making bipolar disorder tricky to manage. It takes an average of 10 years after symptom onset to receive the correct diagnosis. This is because mania is the hallmark of bipolar disorder, and the depressive episodes often times get overlooked. In fact, people with bipolar disorder typically spend much more time depressed than manic, and even years of depression may go by between manic episodes. There is also Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymic disorder to add to the confusion. Additionally, there are mixed states where a person can be both manic and depressed.
So what does mania feel like?…
It can feel like the best night out getting intoxicated. You lose your inhibitions, your morals change. You have to buy that new car/purse/watch you’re fixated on, right NOW. You’re on top of the world and you don’t want it to end.
During a HYPOmanic state you can be funny, fast, outspoken, creative, spiritual and interested in many things and people. You get projects done on little sleep, are more efficient than ever, and generally you feel fantastic. While not as extreme as a normal manic episode, you are still in a somewhat euphoric state.
The depression that inevitably follows these states is profound. Your mind starts telling you that you are worthless. Joy and happiness become an impossibility so why even bother doing anything at all? – and life suddenly loses meaning. Sluggishness, and general weakness make it extremely difficult getting out of bed.
A mixed state leaves you mostly irritated, angry, anxious and depressed all at the same time. There is no fun or flights of fancy here.
Bipolar is a spectrum, and each person has varying core symptoms he/she experiences. The good news is that with the right medication and therapies, you can live a proactive and fulfilled life. But a thorough and detailed evaluation has to be done, and a specialized treatment plan must be created for each individual. It’s why we evaluate YOU, not just the condition, to create the best therapies to allow you to live up to your potential.