“I never thought I had bipolar disorders, because I didn’t experience the mood swings I’d always heard about. I knew I suffered from depression, but when I was going through a manic episode, everything just felt right. I felt high all the time and, even if I got irritated quickly, I didn’t mind. I thought that nothing would ever go wrong again, even as my work and home life suffered.”
Formerly known as manic-depression, people suffering from bipolar disorder experience alternating periods of severe depression and so-called mania. These periods each last a matter of weeks or months, and are different to mood swings. During a period of depression, you will likely only feel depressed, and during a period of mania, you will feel manic throughout.
A manic episode is a period of days or weeks in which you are always “on,” feel euphoric, have trouble sleeping, make impulsive and reckless decisions, and experience racing thoughts. You may also experience a manic episode during which you feel irritable, aggressive, and agitated.
2.8% of American adults suffer from bipolar disorder every year. Medication and therapy can help you manage the disorder effectively.
Here in New York City, Long Island, Chicago, and New Jersey; there are 3 main types of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar I Disorder
This is the type of bipolar disorder that is characterized by both major depression and severe manic episodes. Periods of depression in bipolar disorder resemble major depressive episodes, with persistent low mood, fatigue, lack of motivation, and difficulty feeling pleasure.
Periods of mania last at least 7 days and are characterized by excessive energy, euphoria, and insomnia. You feel like you are thinking quickly and seeing patterns that no one else sees. You might also feel invincible or as if you can do anything you choose without consequences. This can lead to bad decision making and reckless behavior you would never have otherwise considered. You might also feel very agitated and irritated. Some sufferers of bipolar I disorder also experience delusions and hallucinations.
Bipolar II Disorder
Bipolar II disorder also includes periods of major depression, often more severe than those experienced by bipolar I sufferers. However, it is characterized by a less severe type of mania known as hypomania. This resembles a feeling of being high, may cause racing thoughts and high energy, and impulsivity. It can feel very good and harmless while you are going through it, but may lead to bad decisions with serious consequences.
People suffering from cyclothymic disorder experience periods of hypomanic symptoms, as well as periods of depressive symptoms, over a timeframe of 2 years. However, they do not experience full-blown depressive or hypomanic episodes.