Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings

2013 Bipolar Update

Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings

Everybody experiences mood swings many times in their lives and this need not be of great concern. However, bipolar disorder mood swings are not your typical mood swings. These mood swings can be so severe as to interfere with your day to day activities. For instance, a person in the throes of one of the bipolar mood swings may not be able to get out of bed or may be feeling depressed enough to contemplate suicide. These mood swings may also last longer than ordinary mood swings.

Bipolar disorder mood swings usually cycle between mania and depression. The severity of both types of episodes and their duration will depend on the type of bipolar disorder the individual is suffering from. According to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) IV, there are 4 types of bipolar disorders. This categorization is done based on the symptoms experienced.

The 4 types of bipolar disorder are bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, cyclothymic disorder and bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BP-NOS). Bipolar I is characterized by severe manic or mixed episodes that last a week or more and individual may require hospital care. Episodes of depression will also last 2 weeks or more and will disrupt a person’s life. Bipolar II is dominated by depressive episodes with hypomania. These moods swing back and forth without mixed or manic episodes.

Cylothymic disorder or cyclothymia has the mildest bipolar disorder mood swings. An individual will suffer episodes of hypomania and mild depression which cycle back and forth. Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified is the diagnosis given for individuals whose bipolar does not fit into any of the other 3 types.

Bipolar disorder mood swings do have some triggers and it is possible to identify them if you pay close attention to what happens just before an episode of mania and depression. A trigger is simply an event or situation that brings on an episode. The triggers will vary from person to person but may include stressful situations at home or in the work place, holidays, disruption in sleep patterns and so on.

It may be a good idea to keep a record of what happens just before an episode of mania or depression. Over a period of time you may be able to identify a pattern which may in turn help you anticipate when you will experience your bipolar disorder mood swings and possibly prevent them. However, there are some triggers that cannot be anticipated.

Bipolar disorder mood swings can be very disruptive so it is a good idea to seek treatment for the disorder. For example, during a depressive episode, an individual may feel unable to get out of bed and may therefore not go to work. In a manic episode an individual may be very reckless and participate in behavior that can endanger them or others.