People with Bipolar disorder experience high and low moods, however these moods are different from the everyday fluctuations we all experience.
Good days and bad days are a perfectly normal part of life. Navigating the everyday challenges of life can be exhausting, and associated stress inevitably takes a toll on our emotional well-being. As such, it’s natural for all people to cycle through various moods – often a few different emotional states in a day – while interacting with others and the situations around them. Moreover, most people have their ways of managing their moods.
For some, however, it might feel like their emotions are out of control more often than not. One of the characteristic features of Bipolar Mood Disorder is the experience of acuteness of abnormally elevated or severely depressed moods.
Feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts are some of the symptoms that appear in tandem with severe depression. While increased self-esteem, motivation, creativity and seemingly limitless energy are just some of the signs that present during a manic episode.
Both manic and depressive cycles can last for days, weeks or months at a time. An individual with BMD might experience rapid cycling, where the very high and low extremes occur multiple times a day. It can be very distressing for those suffering from the illness, as well as the friends, colleagues and loved ones around them.
Unlike regular moods, the sheer intensity of bipolar mood fluctuations is often debilitating and can lead to sufferers losing their jobs, wealth and even their families. In 1990, the World Health Organization determined that BMD was the fifth leading cause of disability in the world.
Most often these moods are accompanied by symptoms such as agitation and irritability, anxiety, extreme and unprovoked outbursts of anger, insomnia, rapid speech, feelings of euphoria, impulsive or irresponsible decisions, an inability to get out of bed, suicidal ideation, and more.
Bipolar Mood Disorder can also have devastating effects on someone’s libido, memory, focus and concentration, fatigue, judgement and even appetite.
A combination of some or all of the symptoms described above makes it difficult for people with BMD to maintain steady jobs and stable long-term relationships with friends and family.
In Australia, roughly 1 in 50 people are expected to suffer from BMD, which amounts to approximately 360,000 people. According to the World Health Organization estimates, nearly 60,000,000 people suffer from BMD worldwide.
However, it is also important to note the many people living with BMD have achieved great success and, with the help of the right treatments and self-care, go on to live happy, healthy and functional lives.