People with bipolar disorder experience episodes of severe depression and episodes of mania: overwhelming joy, excitement or happiness, enormous energy, reduced need for sleep, and reduced inhibitions. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by intense changes in mood. People with the disease change from mania or hypomania (an emotional state of energy and joy, or sometimes aggressive or delirious) to having episodes of depression. To help you better understand how you feel, mania and depression are described below.
When a person has a manic episode, they feel overly excited, productive, and even invincible. On the other hand, when a person has a depressive episode, they feel extremely sad, hopeless, and tired. They may avoid friends, family, and participating in their usual activities. Having a healthy relationship with someone with bipolar disorder requires not only careful management of your illness, but also setting aside time to take good care of yourself.
Medical help, such as medication, can go a long way in managing these “ups and downs” so that a person can effectively live with bipolar disorder. You can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder at any age, but most people are diagnosed in their teens or twenties, and you're at higher risk if you have a family history of bipolar disorder. But any type of stressor, good or bad, has the potential to trigger manic or depressive episodes in people with bipolar disorder. Getting treatment from a mental health professional with experience with bipolar disorder can help you manage your symptoms.
Treatment for bipolar disorder involves a combination of medications and other psychological methods (psychotherapy). It takes effort to maintain a strong relationship, but it can be especially difficult when your partner has bipolar disorder. If you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more often than episodes of mania, or vice versa. During bipolar mood swings, it's difficult to accomplish day-to-day tasks, work, go to school, and maintain relationships.