Misunderstanding Behaviors Related to Bipolar Disorder

Misunderstanding Behaviors Related to Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is often associated with creativity and the condition is often found in persons with a great deal of potential. Unfortunately, however, bipolar disorder can also be a debilitating condition that can undermine the person’s sense of wellbeing and stand in the way of him reaching his full potential or being happy and well-adjusted.

Although bipolar disorder cannot be cured, treatment for bipolar disorder can help those who suffer from the condition to manage their symptoms and cope with the effects, thereby allowing them to live happy, successful lives. Unfortunately, however, behaviors exhibited by those suffering from bipolar disorder can often resemble manifestations of other conditions and may lead to misdiagnosis, thereby preventing the person from getting the treatment he needs to cope with the condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a complex condition which can manifest itself in different ways depending on the individual. Bipolar disorder commonly involves a number of distinct mood episodes, including the following:

  • Mania – includes symptoms such as increased energy and creativity combined with a sense of invincibility, feelings of euphoria, hyperactivity, excessive talking, decreased sleeping and irritability or aggressiveness
  • Hypomania – involves a less severe form of mania
  • Depression – includes symptoms such as fatigue, feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of suicide
  • Mixed episodes – involves symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression that include agitation, anxiety, irritability, insomnia and racing thoughts and may lead to an increased risk of suicide

Some individuals tend to suffer one type of episode more than another, while other individuals suffer equally from alternating episodes. Bipolar disorder is grouped into a number of classifications, depending on the occurrence of the various mood episodes, including the following:

  • Bipolar I disorder – the classic manic-depressive state, characterized by alternating manic and mixed episodes and sometimes depressive episodes
  • Bipolar II disorder – this form of the illness involves severe depression and hypomanic episodes
  • Cyclothymia – a less severe form of bipolar that is characterized by alternating episodes of hypomania and mild depression

Misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary greatly between individuals, and there is not a definitive psychological or physiological test for determining the presence of bipolar disorder. As a result, persons who suffer from bipolar disorder are at risk of being misdiagnosed. Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can closely resemble those of other conditions such as schizophrenia or unipolar depression (also known as clinical depression).

Failing to diagnose bipolar disorder or misdiagnosing bipolar disorder as something else can result in continued or increased suffering, since the patient will not receive the treatment appropriate for the condition.

Bipolar disorder is a serious and potentially devastating condition that requires treatment. The good news is that even though bipolar disorder can’t be treated successfully, but the symptoms can be managed. With treatment, persons suffering from bipolar disorder can live happy, productive and fulfilling lives.