Does Your Loved One Have These Telltale Signs of Bipolar Disorder?

Jun 30, 2023
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Bipolar disorder may cause mild to extreme symptoms. But no matter how severe your loved one’s mania or depression may be, there are telltale signs of their challenges. And recognizing early signs may help them prevent a mood swing.

Bipolar disorder is known for causing extreme mood swings between mania and depression. But your loved one’s mood episodes may not be that extreme, depending on the type of bipolar disorder.

At Insight Psychiatric Services, Kevin Joseph, DNP, PMHNP-BC, understands how difficult it is when a loved one struggles with a mental illness like bipolar disorder. And many times, family members aren’t sure what they can do to help.

We provide compassionate support and guidance and can help you and your loved one learn the signs, create a plan for preventing mood swings, and provide individualized treatment that stabilizes their mood. 

Here, we explain the top signs of bipolar disorder, because recognizing the signs helps you support your loved one and gives them the chance to avoid a pending mood swing.

What you should know about bipolar disorder symptoms

The first thing to know is that there are several types of bipolar disorder, and the type determines the severity of your loved one’s symptoms.

Full-blown mania causes severe symptoms that disrupt their ability to function and often requires temporary hospitalization. But some people have hypomania, which causes milder symptoms that may enhance rather than hurt their daily functioning.

Though less common, some people with bipolar disorder have mania without depression. It’s also possible to have mixed episodes, which means your loved one has mania and depression at the same time.

Signs of mania

Whether your loved one has full-blown mania, hypomania, or even milder symptoms, all manic episodes have five warning signs:

Changes in sleep

Needing little to no sleep is a major red flag before and during a manic episode. While a depressive episode could cause insomnia, bipolar depression is more likely to make your loved one sleep more than usual.

Excessive energy

Mania is defined by high energy, and that excessive energy keeps your loved one constantly moving, on the go, and taking on new projects. They may start projects even if they don’t have the experience or knowledge to do it.

Euphoric or irritated mood

The elevated mood caused by mania is more than being in a good mood. Mania causes euphoria, giddiness, and extreme excitement (even about things that don’t warrant such a reaction). 

Your loved one may exhibit rash, risky, or irresponsible behaviors that can have bad consequences, like making investments or purchases they can’t afford.

On the other hand, extreme energy can also make your loved one irritable and jumpy. They may get angry if you try to stop them from irresponsible actions.

Unusually talkative

Your loved one’s thoughts are racing at a high speed, and that comes out in excessive talking and pressured speech. 

Pressured speech refers to talking nonstop without pausing like you normally would during a conversation. Instead, they talk over others and may frequently jump from one topic to another without a logical connection between the two.

Changes in focus

Your loved one may stay intensely focused on one project. Or they may be easily distracted and quickly lose interest, jumping from one thing to the next.

Extreme self-confidence

Extreme self-confidence, called grandiose behavior, means your loved one feels and therefore acts like they have exceptional intelligence, ability, or insight. Some may believe they have special powers and feel invincible.

Your loved one may act arrogant or ignore boundaries. Extreme self-esteem may come across as a super-inflated ego or delusions of grandeur (e.g., believing they are destined to be great, rich, or rule the world).

Signs of bipolar depression

Many people with bipolar disorder experience depression long before their first manic or hypomanic episode. Whether your loved one’s symptoms are mild or severe, bipolar depression causes the same signs as major depressive disorder, including:

  • Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless (most of the day and nearly every day)
  • Having no interest in activities they usually enjoy
  • Changing their eating habits (eating more or less)
  • Experiencing weight changes (gaining or losing weight)
  • Sleeping more than usual (sometimes having insomnia)
  • Feeling sluggish and lacking energy during the day
  • Having difficulty concentrating or struggling to make decisions
  • Moving slowly and aimlessly
  • Thinking or talking about death or suicide

If you notice any signs of bipolar disorder, don’t hesitate to call us at Insight Psychiatric Services in Sunrise, Florida, or book online. We can answer your questions and recommend steps you can take to help your loved one.