Do I have Bipolar Disorder?

When someone is experiencing bipolar disorder, their behaviour and thoughts can be beyond their own control.

Friends, family and workmates can often be the ones to notice first.

What are the early warning signs of bipolar disorder?

One early bipolar symptom may be hypomania. When someone is hypomanic, they can feel great, highly energetic and impulsive.

Common early warning signs for hypomania and mania, include:

  • not sleeping (the most commonly experienced sign)

  • agitation, irritability, emotional intensity

  • energised with ideas, plans, motivation for schemes

  • intense expression laden behaviour with implied extra meaning

  • inability to concentrate

  • rapid thoughts and speech

  • spending money more than usual

  • increased sexual drive, flirtatiousness

  • increasing incidence of paranoid thoughts

  • neglecting to eat, losing track of time

  • reading extra symbolism into words, events, patterns (seeing ‘codes’)

  • increased use of telephone or writing – making contact with many people

  • insistent and persuasive

  • increased intake – or binges – of alcohol and/or drugs

  • arguments with friends or family

  • increased ‘driven’ activity without stopping to eat, drink or sleep

  • increased interest in religious/spiritual ideas or themes

  • taking on more work or working to extremes in hours or projects.

Some common early warning signs of bipolar depression, include:

  • change in sleep patterns – insomnia, or excessive sleeping

  • fatigue

  • staying up late to watch TV or work on projects

  • increased irritability

  • loss of concentration

  • lack of motivation

  • withdrawal – avoiding social contact, not answering phone, cancelling social activities

  • change in eating habits – loss of appetite, or overeating

  • reduced libido

  • increased anxiety and feelings of worthlessness

  • loss of interest in leisure activities and hobbies

  • listening to sad/nostalgic music

  • taking sick days

  • procrastinating and putting off responsibilities

  • bursting into tears for no apparent reason

  • thoughts of suicide.

If you recognise some of these changes in behaviour, it’s important to find help with a mental health professional.


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