Bipolar Disorder and Fatigue

Bipolar Disorder and Fatigue

Fatigue is a common, but serious symptom of bipolar disorder that usually arises during depressive episodes. It can also trigger depressive episodes and exacerbate other symptoms, meaning it presents a major challenge to treatment and managing the disorder. Fatigue can be so physically and mentally effective that patients lack the strength, willpower or interest to get better.

Bipolar disorder can improve with proper lifestyle management, such as exercise, a healthy diet, a regular sleep schedule and more. While these treatment methods may sound simple to someone without the disorder, fatigue can make these simple tasks seem overwhelming or impossible. Because of the difficulty in addressing the disorder’s symptoms, seek professional help to recover.

What Is Fatigue?

Fatigue is a condition that is difficult to describe to someone who has never experienced it; words like tiredness, exhaustion and lethargy generally describe this condition, but they fail to articulate the lifelessness of fatigue. People with this condition may stay in bed for most of the day or even several days in a row, not because they are lazy, but because they simply lack the strength to rise. In this way, a simple task like doing the laundry can seem so exhausting that it brings someone to tears.

Additionally, fatigue is both physically and mentally draining. When this symptom appears, patients may experience muscle weakness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, loss of appetite, headaches, confusion, drowsiness, lack of motivation and energy, apathy and more.

How to Deal with Fatigue and Bipolar Disorder

Several treatment options address fatigue and bipolar disorder. Experiencing fatigue after a manic episode is fairly common, since people will experience a significant decrease in energy, alertness, motivation and sleep as they transition from mania to their level of normalcy. When patients prepare for fatigue, they can manage it and avoid a sharp fall into a depressive state.

Medications can help, but the following practices can be just as effective:

  • Keep a healthy diet, avoid junk food and get plenty of nutrients from fruits and vegetables
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water
  • Steer clear of caffeine, alcohol, drugs and other chemical-altering substances
  • Take care of the body, because exercise triggers endorphins that fight-off fatigue and other depression symptoms
  • Stretching, yoga, meditation and other holistic healthcare techniques ease stress and tension that trigger fatigue, mania, depression, anxiety and more
  • Avoid isolation and get outside, because sunlight and conversation can boost self-esteem and emotional health, which greatly affect physical and mental health

If you take proper precautions, you can prepare to avoid fatigue.