Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings: Triggers & Coping Strategies

An estimated 2.3 million Americans struggle with bipolar disorder every year. This significant condition is hard to manage and can make it difficult to function.

To help family members or friends with bipolar disorder mood swings, it’s essential that you know how to recognize these episodes, how they’re triggered, and ways to cope with them.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes mood swings that make it difficult for a person to function on a day-to-day basis. It tends to show through an individual’s emotions with either manic or depressive behavior. These feelings can change quickly, reverting back and forth within a short period of time.

During a manic episode, someone may make irrational decisions and feel overly excited. They tend to have high levels of energy and elation, which could even lead to delusional ideas and poor choices.

Alternatively, someone with bipolar disorder mood swings could then feel depressed and overwhelmed. This brings on heavy sadness, a lack of interest in daily activities, and misery.

There are three types of bipolar disorder, which include Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder. Professionals generally diagnose people with these conditions during their 20s and have found that these disorders are either genetic or based on brain structure.

What’s the difference between mood swings vs. bipolar disorder?

The main contrasts between mood swings and bipolar disorders are typically related to the intensity of emotions and how long they last.

Mood swings can come on suddenly but aren’t extreme and don’t usually last for long periods of time. They’re also less frequent and can be controlled by the individual. A person may be happy at one point but could quickly shift to frustration, irritability, or anger after something happens to them.

On the other hand, bipolar disorder daily mood swings are much more intense and can be much more difficult for a person to control. Their mood can change in an instant, and they won’t be able to calm down or find comfort for much longer time periods. These emotions can be either major excitement followed by intense anger or depression.

When someone has a manic episode caused by bipolar disorder, they may feel so elated and excited that they can’t control their body. They could begin speaking very quickly and won’t be able to focus on one topic of conversation. Additional signs could include impulsive decisions, getting distracted easily, trouble concentrating, or a high sex drive.

Once a person with bipolar disorder switches to a depressive episode, their feelings shift to significant sadness and low self-esteem. They’ll quickly lose interest in basic aspects of their life, such as friends, family, or hobbies. It may also cause them to feel lethargic or exhausted throughout the day.

What triggers bipolar mood swings?

There are quite a few things to be aware of when it comes to bipolar mood swing triggers. The first thing everyone should know is that it may not take a lot for a person with this condition to react in either a positive or negative way. But there are also catalysts that could lead to more significant mood swings.

One of the biggest factors that could have a negative effect on bipolar disorder is poor sleep. When someone isn’t getting enough rest at night, they’ll be more prone to depressive symptoms throughout the day.

The heavy emotions that are involved with family members and friends could also be a factor contributing to bipolar disorder mood swings. Whether it is a recent death of a loved one, a failed marriage, or a major argument with a significant other, these situations can lead to intense feelings.

Occurrences of bipolar disorder and anger mood swings may also be triggered by:

  • Alcohol use
  • Drug use
  • Antidepressants and other meds
  • Seasonal depression
  • Postpartum depression
  • Financial troubles

How to minimize mood swings in bipolar disorder

There are a handful of ways that friends and family members can help their loved ones avoid and cope with mood swings caused by bipolar disorder. Some of the best strategies you can try:

  • Avoid caffeine
  • Limit or prevent alcohol use
  • Minimize stress
  • Follow a daily routine
  • Exercise multiple times a week
  • Get enough sleep at night

Aside from these basic tasks, it is also important for people who have bipolar disorder to get professional care and treatment.

Let Orange County Behavioral Health Help

The team here at Orange County Behavioral Health is trained to assist people who struggle with bipolar disorder mood swings. Whether your loved one is interested in an inpatient or outpatient program, there are treatment services available to them.

Please call our team at 949-900-8426 or 877-467-2223 today if you or a loved one needs help and support.

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