It is common for any person to experience mood changes. However, frequent and marked mood swings can be a symptom of a major mental health disorder known as bipolar disorder. Formerly known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder can cause an individual to display unusual behavior, with periods of high and low energy, sleep disruption, and low energy.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), men and women are equally affected.
While it is often considered difficult to diagnose bipolar disorder in an individual, there are some subtle signs that may indicate the presence of this disorder. It is recommended that any such signs are not ignored as doing so might increase the risk of a person developing addiction to a substance.
Some of these common signs of bipolar disorder are mentioned as follows:
1. Sudden unusual good moods
Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings that alternately make a person feel happy and sad. With numerous episodes of mania and depression, an individual during the manic phase may show unusual energy, lack of concentration and may attempt but not complete unusual tasks. This inability to complete one’s tasks, and lack of energy tends to irritate the person, instigating him/her to abuse substance.
2. Difficulty in completing tasks
An individual suffering from bipolar disorder often tends to leave his/her tasks half completed. Although , the task to be completed might be bold or inappropriate in scope, there are higher chances of the person abusing a substance due to his/her feelings of being inefficient.
Depression is one of the common symptoms of bipolar disorder. An individual with bipolar disorder often begins to feel depressed and sad about things, and may have problems with energy, appetite, sleep and focus. Though the symptoms are quite similar to a person experiencing clinical depression, the periodic shift to an elevated mood can signal the presence of bipolar disorder.
Antidepressant medications tend to have a negative impact on a person experiencing bipolar disorder and may even trigger a manic episode.
According to a number of studies, a strong relation has been discovered between feeling depressed and abusing substances. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the depression is diagnosed and treated on time so as to avoid any major complications.
4. High irritation level
Most people feel irritated occasionally. A person with bipolar disorder can become irritated more easily than the average person. It is important to keep a check on a person’s behavior and irritability level so that no such signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder go unnoticed.
Dealing with an irritated person can be quite tough. But, one should make sure that his/her needs are asked about and dealt with to make sure that the person does not feel alone or left out. The feeling of being alone can push a person to develop dependence on an illicit substance.
5. Rapid speech
People with bipolar disorder may engage in very rapid speech which may not always make sense. They also often tend to jump from one topic to another. Such behavior should be dealt calmly and patiently as losing one’s cool might irritate the person, forcing him/her to use drugs.
Road to recovery
It is important to ensure that a person with bipolar disorder is diagnosed as soon as possible so that he/she can receive psychological help. If left untreated, a person is at a greater risk of developing an addiction or abusing some form of substance.
Often substance abuse and mental illness can co-occur or one can lead to the other. This is a case of dual diagnosis. In the same way, bipolar disorder can lead to abusing illicit substances. Therefore, if you know someone who is in need of help from a dual diagnosis center, the Dual Diagnosis Helpline can assist you. You may call our 24/7 helpline number 855-981-6047 or chat online for complete details about the best facilities offering dual diagnosis help.