Bipolar Mood Swings

2013 Bipolar Update

Recognizing Bipolar Mood Swings

Bipolar mood swings are one of the most obvious giveaways of someone suffering with a bipolar disorder. One minute, they can be jolly and happy and extremely engaging; the next minute, they can be stoic, placid, or worse apathetic to all that’s happening around them. For this reason, it is important to understand the mechanics that govern bipolar mood swings because this will ultimately give clues as to the best ways to deal with anyone who is suffering from a bipolar disorder.

The first thing to remember is that not all bipolar cases are alike. In some patients, there is predominance for manic episodes while in others, depression features more heavily. Consequently, each of these cases features a different cycle for bipolar mood swings.

A few common examples of bipolar mood swings and the corresponding pattern are defined as follows:

· Long onset Manic Episode. This describes a typical cycle where mania is the predominant form of mood. Oftentimes lasting up to a week before reverting back to normal or flipping to depression. A long onset of manic episode is characterized by the typical warning signs of mania and even hypermania.

· Long onset Depressive Episode. A depressive episode typically lasts longer than mania. In some documented cases, depression can set in and remain for up to 3 weeks non-stop. This is one of the most dangerous cases of bipolar mood swings as prolonged depression can heighten the likelihood of the patient inflicting physical harm or contemplating suicide.

· Rapid cycling. While not as common as long onset manic or depressive episodes, about 10-20% of people with bipolar disorder experience rapid cycling. This is characterized by recurrent changes or bipolar mood swings from mania to depression over a short period of time.

Understanding these bipolar mood swings is essential to making a definitive diagnosis of the specific illness. Today, there are medications that specifically target episodes. For example, while mood stabilizers are prescribed in almost all cases, long onset depressive cases require medications that are specifically designed for depression. Likewise, long onset mania episodes could require hallucinogens to combat the potential onset of hallucinations in prolonged mania.

These bipolar mood swings and their corresponding cycle will also prove helpful for family members looking to better understand how to deal with the cycles of a loved one. As the cycles become more predictable, family members are in a better position to try to stop the episodes from happening or be close by when they do.

The best way to catch bipolar mood swings is to pay attention to common triggers that are affected when a cycle sets in. These include sleeping patterns, social openness, energy levels, even sex drive and concentration. Over time, these types of changes can become more predictable or understandable. This can make it much easier to see the correct treatment is given at the right time..

Do not worry unnecessarily if you have a loved one diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. The secret lies in understanding the accompanying bipolar mood swings that is caused by their illness. With enough exposure and experience you will be able to help them and yourself learn how to deal with the problem. Once this is done, a bipolar individual can lead a relatively normal life as long as they continue to follow their doctor's treatment suggestions and perscribed medication.