Mood swings are a big part of Bipolar Disorder, a psychiatric disorder that commonly co-occurs with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The mood swings inherent in Bipolar Disorder can range from mild to severe, and can lead to all sorts of problems with friends, family, and employers.
The mood swings experienced by people with Bipolar Disorder can shift drastically, and can leave you feeling depressed one moment and over-excited the next. If you have Bipolar Disorder, you are likely to experience the following moods:
- Mania: When in the manic phase, people with Bipolar Disorder feel a heightened sense of importance, higher levels of energy, engage in rapid speech, and have grandiose beliefs about themselves. They can also be angry, irritable, and quick to lash out. People with mania tend to spiral out of control after feeling great for a time.
- Hypomania: This is a less severe form of mania. While a person with hypomania will also feel a heightened sense of euphoria and productivity, it doesn’t interfere with their day-to-day lives as much as traditional mania. People with hypomania can still make bad decisions, however, and can escalate to full-blown mania.
- Depression: While it might seem similar to traditional depression symptoms, people with a depressive mood and Bipolar Disorder can also experience excessive irritability, feelings of guilt, restlessness or worthlessness, and a complete loss of energy. Their mood can also swing violently and quickly.
- Mixed: People having a mixed episode have symptoms of both hypomania and depression. They might feel a heightened sense of high energy but also have a very low mood that can lead to agitation, insomnia, distractibility, and can carry a high risk of suicide.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings?
There are several triggers that can set a mood swing into action for people with Bipolar Disorder. These triggers can include the following:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Erratic schedules
- Changes in energy level
- The addition of various medications
- Seasonal changes
- Changes in sex drive
- Changes in drug, caffeine, or alcohol use
- Changes in self-esteem
- Changes in concentration
- Stopping medications for Bipolar Disorder or changing your Bipolar Disorder treatment schedule
Any one of these can set off a mood swing. One of the best things you can do is learn how to spot these before they set off a mood swing so that you or those around you can be better prepared to handle it.
Once you have identified the triggers for mood swings in yourself or someone you care about, it should be much easier to prevent mood swings in the future. This doesn’t mean your Bipolar Disorder is cured, however. You will still need to remain constantly vigilant in order to prevent destructive mood swings that can cause harm to yourself or those you care about.
Managing Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings
One of the best ways to manage your Bipolar Disorder mood swings is to keep a journal of your moods and your thoughts so you can begin to see patterns in your behavior and the behavior that sets off mood swings. You can also ask those closest to you – including friends, family, and co-workers — to keep an eye on you and immediately let you know if they notice a change in something that could cause a mood swing.
Besides a journal, keep a regular schedule. A routine will help keep your mood as stable as possible. Try to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, as well, as sleep is very important in regulating mood.
Stress can also be one of the major causes of a mood swing. Do what it takes to control your stress as much as possible, whether that’s getting regular massages, talking to a therapist, or going on walks.
If you’ve done these things, you should be better prepared for a mood swing when it occurs. If you’re having trouble getting your Bipolar Disorder mood swings under control, however, you may need to enter a Bipolar Disorder treatment center to learn how to better cope with your mood swings and make a full recovery from your Bipolar Disorder.