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What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is one of the most confusing types of mental health disorders and affects more than three million people in the United States. That is close to two percent of Americans 18 and older who suffer from this debilitating and life-changing disease. The condition is described as extreme highs and lows in both energy and mood, and a person can cycle through these ups and downs their entire lives. Someone with bipolar disorder can swing between extremely energetic and happy periods to severe depressions where they do not even want to get out of bed.


Recognizing the Signs

This condition is usually noticed when the person is in their teen years, and it may not be recognized as an illness unless you know what to look for. Many people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed as being moody or just acting out, while others are diagnosed as clinically depressed. Unfortunately, the medication and therapy for depression is not very effective on bipolar disorder. The individual with this illness typically is noticed in school by getting in trouble for something they have done while on one of their highs, and they are usually just labeled as a troublemaker or juvenile delinquent. Some of the most common signs of bipolar disorder include:

Manic Signs

  • More energetic than normal
  • Talking faster than usual
  • Racing thoughts
  • Feeling high or abnormally happy
  • Increased anxiety and irritation
  • Easily distracted
  • Not sleeping normally
  • Showing poor judgement
  • Believing you are more powerful than everyone else
  • High sex drive
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Psychosis and hallucinations

Depressive Signs

  • Feeling sad or hopeless for no obvious reason
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Not wanting to get out of bed
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Restless and irritation
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Persistent aches and pains with no medical cause
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Memory lapses
  • Suicidal thoughts


If you or someone you know has symptoms of bipolar disorder, it is essential that you talk to someone about it. Without treatment, the chances of living a healthy and successful life are diminished. Some of the treatment options include psychotherapy (talk therapy), cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication. You can also reach out to an online psychologist for help and advice. It is easy, there’s no appointment necessary, and you won’t even have to leave the house. There are several sites to choose from, including BetterHelp. You are matched with an online counselor who can help you better manage your life with Bipolar Disorder. Your counselor can help you identify your support system, which includes that person, and learn to look out for the signs of a mood swing including mania and/or depression. One of the most popular forms of treatment for Bipolar Disorder is DBT, or Dialectal Behavior Therapy. This helps with mood regulation and includes helpful tools such as mindfulness and thought records.  

You don’t have to manage Bipolar Disorder on your own. Reach out for help and find a counselor who can help you get better and live your best life.