Psychosis and Bipolar Disorder
Although such symptoms are not universal, some people suffering from bipolar disorder experience psychotic symptoms during intense manic or depressive episodes. In some cases, these patients have been incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and may miss critical treatment as a result. Recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder and psychosis are critical to the treatment process.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder describes a condition in which a person’s brain chemistry is out of balance and he or she is unable to maintain emotional balance. Bipolar individuals swing from times of dangerous mania to episodes of major depression. While there is no known cure for bipolar disorder, the condition can be managed quite effectively through counseling and medical care when the symptoms are recognized and the individual seeks help. The symptoms of mania are as follows:
- Making impetuous and unwise decisions regarding money, dangerous activities or relationships
- Risky sexual behavior
- Unrealistic optimism and self-confidence (hubris)
- Emotional outbursts that may include verbal or physical abuse of others
- Excessive energy with little need for sleep
The symptoms of major depression are as follows:
- Loss of interest in previously important activities and relationships
- Emotional numbness
- Sexual dysfunction
- Marked changes in eating
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Persistent sadness, melancholy, crying or hopelessness
- Lack of hope for the future
- Sleeping too much or too little
Many people mistakenly believe depression to be consistently similar to sadness; however, in many cases, the individual is not particularly upset, but simply can’t feel anything. This ambivalence often makes it difficult for depressed people to accept treatment for their disorder. During the manic phase, the individual is unlikely to recognize that anything is wrong.
Recognizing Symptoms of Psychosis
The term “psychosis” refers to the experience of seeing or hearing something that is not there. It is often manifested in one or more of the following ways:
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that is not actually happening)
- Delusions (strongly believing in something that is not true)
- Paranoia (strong anxiety related to an unrealistic fear of others or their agenda)
There are many ways in which these symptoms can be expressed. Some people develop an inappropriately passionate belief in supernatural things or are convinced that everyone is out to get them. Psychosis causes a person to become detached from reality. These symptoms can be brought on by either intense mania or depression.
Effectively Treating Bipolar Disorder
While there is no currently known cure for bipolar disorder, there are several treatment techniques that can significantly reduce the severity of symptoms. Bipolar disorder, with or without psychotic aspects, does not cure itself. If left untreated, symptoms often worsen, and the patient is likely to self-medicate with drug or alcohol abuse and may experience a range of destructive and compulsive behaviors. Suicidal thoughts or actions are possible during both manic and depressive episodes.
Bipolar Disorder and Addiction Help
If you are experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder and substance abuse, please call our toll-free helpline right away. We are standing by 24 hours a day with answers to your questions and access to the best treatment programs available. If you are concerned about the symptoms you see in a friend or loved one, we can help you as well.
When bipolar disorder gets to the point of including hallucinations or other psychotic symptoms, it is time for treatment. Don’t let this treatable disease destroy your life. Call now.