What is Bipolar Disorder?
Feel like your mood is all over the place like leaves caught in a windstorm? That alone doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mood disorder, but if you also suffer from trouble with impulsivity, periods of high energy where you may not sleep for days on end, you feel larger than life or like you can do magical things like fly (without an airplane), an assessment might not be a bad idea.
- Erratic mood
- Extreme highs and lows
- High energy
- Reduced need for sleep
- Impulsive behavior
- Experiencing episodes of depression and mania
It should be noted that substance abuse can produce symptoms that look a great deal like a bipolar disorder. Mood lability, impulsivity, depressive symptoms, aggression–all of these symptoms can also be related to substance abuse. Again, this is why you need specialty care, someone who can take you through an assessment, pull these various influences apart and help you attain diagnostic certainty.
It should be noted that even if you have all of the above symptoms, you don’t necessarily have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a complicated illness and needs to be diagnosed by a professional, someone who specializes in mental health treatment. In children and adolescents, diagnosis is even more difficult because the symptoms don’t neatly conform to typical symptoms that are seen in bipolar disorder in adults. Whatsmore, adolescence is already an emotionally tumultuous time AND a time of frequently unchecked impulsivity. Against the backdrop of this developmental period, diagnosing a mood disorder can be quite difficult indeed.