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Bipolar Disorder, or manic depression as it's more commonly referred to, is a mood disorder that causes extreme highs and lows. Usually, there is no in between — they are ecstatic and jacked up on life, or they are severely bummed out and find it difficult to get out of bed and complete the simplest of tasks — manifestation of bipolar depression can come in many ways.
Many people don't know that there are actually two levels of the disorder, meaning many people have surprising symptoms of manic depression. People with bipolar disorder have depression alternating with severely elevated mood, or mania. Bipolar II is much more common, and is marked by much less severe manic symptoms, called hypomania. This can make diagnosing somebody with the disorder incredibly difficult.
Many of the signs we are already pretty well versed in, but what are some of the most surprising symptoms of manic depression? Am I just really moody, or is this a sign of an underlying personality disorder? Read on for a bit more clarity.
You're in an extended great mood.
Being in a great mood is amazing, who wouldn't want to be in one? However, if these moods seem to last for an inordinate amount of time and don't really seem to have a cause, it may be a sign of hypomania. The problem with this elevated mood is that it's due for a serious crash.
This is generally one of the more well-known symptoms of manic depression that comes as a surprise. While that may seem like an oxymoron, it isn't. The reason is that most people think the mood has to be so elevated and nuts as to be noticeable to everyone. You don't have to be up for weeks on end and write a symphony to be stepping the line of manic depression — it can be much more subtle.
You're easily distracted.
Being easily distracted is a symptom of manic depression, and it can be hard to focus on a task for a long enough time to complete it. A tendency to jump from task to task, or being generally unable to finish projects may be attributed to the mood disorder.
If you're so distracted that you find it difficult to get things done, it might be time to take a further look at your issue. These extended flights of fancy can ruin your relationships as well, as bouncing between tasks and topics can be jarring for those who aren't moving a million miles an hour. Check with your doctor, as these can be signs of ADHD as well.
You've got misplaced confidence.
Having confidence and a good self-esteem is a great thing, but if the confidence isn't backed up by anything it can be one of the symptoms of manic depression. In people suffering from the disorder, this excessive overconfidence can lead to poor and sometimes dangerous decisions. Everything sounds great to them, and often they can be overcome with delusions of grander.
This might lead to them taking crazy risks and engaging in behavior they usually wouldn't. They might lose a ton of money in a half-cocked business scheme, or possibly even do something illegal because they are so confident they won't be caught — maybe even landing them in the slammer.
You've been binge drinking.
While drinking to somewhat of an excess is the norm for many, episodes of sudden binge drinking can be a symptom of manic depression. It might help you slow your brain down during a manic episode — or at least turn it off. During a down episode, it can help you ease the pain and lessen the burden that your life has seemingly become.
Bipolar disorder and alcoholism co-occur more often than alcoholism and depression. More than 50 percent of people diagnosed with manic depression also have alcohol use disorders, which further escalates their risk of suicide down the line.
Your sex drive is through the roof.
If you find yourself suddenly engaging in risky sexual encounters, or thinking about sex more often than you used to, you could be experiencing symptoms of manic depression. Becoming hyper sexual is one of the lesser known mania clues.
Depending on the severity of the manic episode, you can find yourself in all sorts of reckless situations, from having unprotected sex with strangers to paying for it and risking ending up in jail — nothing is off the table during a period of intense mania.
You've been spending recklessly.
If you or somebody you know is blowing their paycheck on massive shopping sprees they can’t afford, be aware, it's one of the symptoms of manic depression. A person in a manic phase of their bipolar disorder is more likely to take big risks, which includes spending splurges that can lead to tons of crippling debt.
This is in part due to the increased levels of confidence, which leads to this erratic behavior. Somebody in the middle of an episode thinks they'll have no problem making all that money back. Ask them, I bet they have a million ideas and schemes cooking in their brain — although you may not be able to understand them due to their rapid fire thoughts and speech.