When they go through a manic mood, people with bipolar will:
have a high-energy mood that lasts for 4-7 days
During this time, they will think and act in ways that are extreme for them. For example, they may:
have racing thoughts
speak fast, talk nonstop, or skip from topic to topic
have extreme energy, be hyperactive, or rush through things
stay awake for days, not seem to need sleep
act overly silly or overly happy
be reckless, take unsafe risks
lash out in anger
use poor judgment, do things they shouldn’t do
try risky behaviors
think of themselves in inflated ways or think they have superpowers
Going through these two types of extreme moods is hard on a person. Bipolar moods can make it harder to get along well with others. It can be a challenge to succeed at goals.
Bipolar can cloud people’s judgment and lead them to take unsafe risks. It can cause problems they didn’t expect and didn’t intend. Some people might be more likely to self-harm or try suicide. They may drink alcohol or use drugs.
That’s why it matters to get the right diagnosis and treatment for bipolar moods. It can help reverse or prevent problems like these.
Moods don’t have to run a person’s life. With treatment, people with bipolar can learn to manage their moods and symptoms. This helps them feel and do better in things that matter to them.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Bipolar Disorder?
There’s no blood test or medical test for bipolar disorder. To diagnose bipolar, a mental health doctor meets with you. They ask questions about your moods, thoughts, feelings, and health. They ask about how you’re doing in your life and problems you’re having. They listen and talk with you, and with your parent. They also check for other conditions that can cause mood symptoms. This can take a few visits.
If a doctor finds that you have bipolar, they will talk more about it with you. They will explain the treatment plan that can help you.
What Is the Treatment for Bipolar?
Treatment for bipolar includes medicines and talk therapy. Medicine can help keep moods stable. But by itself, medicine isn’t enough. A person with bipolar needs talk therapy, too.
Each person’s treatment is tailored to what they need. A type of talk therapy called DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) helps most people. In this therapy, people can learn skills to manage moods. For example, they can learn to:
become more mindful (and aware) of their emotions and thoughts
manage their emotions (instead of dwelling on painful emotions or trying to get rid of them)
cope with strong emotions in healthy ways
set up and follow routines that help keep moods stable
be patient and kind to themselves
care for themselves in positive ways
get along better with others
With time and practice, these skills can become part of a person’s daily life.
Therapy also includes making goals and working out ways to move toward them. In therapy, people track their progress. Many find strengths they didn’t know they had.
When possible, parents take part in treatment. This helps them understand bipolar moods and how to best respond. It can help families have less conflict, relate better, and feel closer.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder?
There is no single cause for bipolar disorder. Experts think that a mix of genes and stressful life events may lead to bipolar disorder.
Genes and a family history of bipolar make it more likely for a person to develop it. But not everyone with a family history of bipolar will develop the condition. Going through very stressful life events may increase the chances for some people who have the genes for bipolar.
If you think you have bipolar disorder, start by talking to a parent or other adult. Ask them to set up a visit with your doctor or a mental health provider. Getting the right treatment matters. Find mental health providers to support you and help you learn all you can.