Can Other People Tell I Have Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depression, is a very serious psychological disorder that causes a person to swing between heightened episodes of emotional mania and major depression in ways that can cause significant pain and suffering. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are often not recognized as part of one overarching problem and are instead believed to be separate issues.

Your friends and loved ones might not recognize your symptoms as evidence of bipolar disorder, but if you leave this disease untreated, there is a good chance that you will hurt yourself or those you love.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms of bipolar disorder often first appear during the later teen years or early twenties although in some cases people have reported symptoms as early as childhood. In order to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a person must have experienced at least one episode of major depression and one episode of mania.

The symptoms of major depression include the following:

  • Loss of interest in previously important activities, including loss of sex drive
  • Emotional numbness or an inability to feel positive or negative feelings
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Substance abuse

The symptoms of mania include the following:

  • Unusually good mood
  • Irritability
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Making reckless choices and engaging in risky behavior, such as spending and sex
  • Distraction
  • Emotional volatility
  • Impulse control problems

Recognizing these symptoms in yourself can be difficult as one of the most common effects of mental disorders is limited self-awareness, and those around you may see the symptoms as disconnected episodes.

Is Bipolar Disorder Curable?

While there is no known cure for bipolar disorder, there are many treatment techniques that allow bipolar individuals to live rich, rewarding and peaceful lives. Treatment may include both medication and counseling. With the right help, the symptoms can be reduced significantly. Each case is unique, and the most effective treatment programs treat each patient based on his or her particular needs. In some cases, treatment may be administered in an outpatient format while other patients benefit from residential treatment for a time.