Bipolar Personality Disorder 

Everyone experiences various moods such as sadness, happiness and anger. Reactions to everyday life can cause normal changes in mood, and often we can identify what causes our mood to change. When we go through extreme mood changes which affect how we function and behave, however, these changes are the results of a mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder. This disorder was first conceptualized formally over one hundred years ago by Emil Kraeplin, however its symptoms were first explained as long ago as 200 A.D. Bipolar disorder is the fifth in leading causes for disabilities across the world. People with bipolar disorder have a suicide rate which is sixty times higher than the general public.

What Is Bipolar Personal Personality Disorder?

Formerly known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. It is usually known by manic episodes which alternate, where the person feels abnormally happy, energetic andoptimistic, and then periods of depression where they feel hopeless, sad, guilty and even suicidal sometimes. Depressive or manic periods could last for days, weeks or even months, and run the whole spectrum from mild to severe. They might also be separated by times of emotional stability where the person functions normally.

Types of Bipolar Personality Disorder

  • Bipolar I disorder

It is characterized by one manic episode at least with no major episode of depression. The manic period is generally followed by a time of severe depression, but some people might not experience it. Mixed states with manic or hypomanic and depressive symptoms happen simultaneously could happen as well.

  • Bipolar II disorder

This type is characterized by major depressive episodes which alternate with episodes of hypomania. An episode of bipolar depression can be hard to distinguish from a unipolar major depressive episode. People with bipolar depression usually have very low energy, plus slow physical and mental processes, and extreme fatigue.

  • Cyclothymia

This refers to the cycling of hypomanic episodes which have depression that is less severe and doesn’t reach proportions of major depression. Some people with cyclothymia later in life will develop bipolar I or II disorder.

Causes of Bipolar Personality Disorder

The causes of bipolar disorder are not completely understood by doctors; however they have gotten a better understanding over the past 10 years of the bipolar spectrum. It is believed by experts that bipolar disorder many times runs in families, and there is a part that is genetic to this particular disorder. Growing evidence also suggests that lifestyle issues and the environment have an effect on the severity of the disorder.

1. Brain and Bipolar Personality Disorder

It is believed by experts that bipolar disorder is caused partly by a problem with particular brain circuits and the balance of neurotransmitters. Three chemicals in the brain, serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine take part in functions of the brain and body. Noradrenaline and serotonin are linked consistently to psychiatric mood disorders like bipolar and depression.

2. Gene and Bipolar Personality Disorder

There have been several studies of patients who are bipolar and their relatives which shows that this disorder can run in families. The most convincing data of this could perhaps be in studies of twins. With identical twins, it was reported that one twin had bipolar disorder, and the other had a greater chance of developing it than another sibling in the same family.

3. Environment and Bipolar Personality Disorder

Research has also shown that children who are offspring of people with bipolar disorder can progress to different psychiatric disorders like major depression, ADHD, substance abuse or schizophrenia. Environmental stressors also can help to trigger episodes of bipolar disorder for those who are genetically predisposed.

Symptoms of Bipolar Personality Disorder

Symptoms for bipolar disorder will vary for each individual. Depression causes most of the problems for some, while for others the main concern is manic symptoms. Depression symptoms and mania symptoms or hypomania might occur together as well.

1. Signs of Bipolar Mania

There are several signs to this disorder which can include euphoria or an inflated self-esteem. It can also produce rapid speech, poor judgment, racing thoughts and aggressive behavior along with irritation or agitation. The person affected might also show increased physical activity or risky behavioral patterns, plus spending sprees or other unwise financial choices. An increased drive to perform or attain goals, and an increase sex drive are other signals, plus the person could be easily distracted and have a decreased need for sleep. They might even begin to be careless with alcohol and drugs, have frequent absences from school or work, plus display signs of psychosis and have poor performance at school or work.

2. Signs of Bipolar Depression

This phase of bipolar disorder can display sadness and hopelessness, plus suicidal thoughts or behaviors. The person can also show anxiety, guilt, and have trouble sleeping. They may have an increased or lowered appetite and be very fatigued. They could have a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed and problems concentrating. They may also be irritable and have chronic pain with no known cause. They’ll have frequent absences and poor performance in school and work.

3. Other Signs of Bipolar Disorder

  • Other symptoms of Bipolar disorder can include seasonal changes in mood, such as being depressed in fall and winter and hypomanic or manic in the spring or summer.
  • You could also see rapid cycling bipolar disorder, where someone will have rapid mood shifts.
  • Psychosis is also a symptom, with severe episodes of either depression or mania. Symptoms can include hallucinations and delusions.

Diagnosis of Bipolar Personality Disorder

Much like the majority of mood disorders, there is no X-ray or lab test to diagnose bipolar disorder. If you feel like you have bipolar disorder, however, you need to seek your physician for a diagnosis. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and signs after running a physical exam. Then they will ask you as well about your family history and personal medical history. They might also perform lab tests to rule out other illnesses that could be serious and be affecting your mood.

Your doctor may also want to speak with your family members to see if they can think of times when you were elated. Since elation could feel normal or good when compared to depression, it is harder for someone with bipolar disorder to know if the mood was higher than normal. Mania many times affects judgment, thinking, and social behavior in ways that create serious problems or embarrassment.

Treatments for Bipolar Personality Disorder

The majority of people who have bipolar disorder needs treatment all their lives so that their conditions can be managed properly. Most times this includes medicine in the form of mood stabilizers, plus sometimes antipsychotics or antidepressants. Getting therapy can also help someone to understand their condition and develop skills to handle it.

1. Medications for Bipolar Personality Disorder

The most effective treatment is medication. A combination of agents to stabilize mood along with antipsychotics, antidepressants and anticonvulsants can be used to regulate depressive and manic episodes. The mood stabilizing agents are the most common to treat this disorder. The function of them is to regulate the manic lows and highs of bipolar disorder. Carbamazepine, Lithium, Risperidone and Valproate are commonly used drugs.


  • Even if your mood is stable you need to continue taking your medications.
  • Monitor the levels of medication in your system by checking in with your doctor regularly.
  • Be very cautious with antidepressants because of their side effects.
  • Remember that medications will not fix all of your problems.

2. Therapies for Bipolar Personality Disorder

  • Cognitive therapy

CBT, or cognitive-behavioral therapy examines how your thoughts affect your emotions. You might also learn how to change your negative thoughts and behaviors to ones that are more positive. In relation to bipolar disorder, the focus is on avoiding triggers for relapse, managing symptoms and problem-solving.

  • Light and dark therapy

This therapy focuses on the sensitive biological clock. This clock that is easily disrupted throws off your sleeping and waking cycles, a disturbance which can trigger symptoms of depression and mania. Light and dark therapy will regulate these biological rhythms, reducing mood cycling by managing your exposure to light. The main part of this therapy involves making an environment or regular darkness by restricting artificial light each night for ten hours.

3. Other Ways of Dealing with Bipolar Personality Disorder

  • Family-orientated therapy

It can be difficult living with someone who has bipolar disorder, and it can cause great strain on marital and family relationships. This type of therapy addresses these types of issues and works to get a supportive and healthy environment back in the home. A major part of this treatment is educating the family about the disease itself and also how to cope with it. Improving communication and working through problems is a good focus of the treatment as well.

  • Interpersonal support

This therapy’s focus is any current relationship issues, helping you to improve the way you relate to important persons in your life. By taking a look at and solving interpersonal problems, this therapy will reduce the stress in your life and help to reduce your mood cycling.

For bipolar disorder, this therapy is usually combined with social rhythm therapy. People with bipolar disorder are thought to have biological clocks that are very sensitive. This is thrown off easily by any disruptions in your daily patterns. This type of therapy focuses on stabilizing your social rhythms like eating, sleeping and exercising. When these are stable, your mood can stay stable as well.

  • Lifestyle change

By regulating your lifestyle carefully, you will be able to keep symptoms and episodes with your mood to a reduced amount. This will involve keeping a regular schedule of sleep, staying away from drugs and alcohol, following a regular exercise routine, lowering stress and maintaining your exposure to sunlight stable year round.

  • Support groups

It can be quite a challenge to live with bipolar disorder, so having a support system you can count on can make a huge difference in your motivation and outlook. When you participate in support groups for bipolar disorder, it gives you a chance to share what you are experiencing and also to learn from others who understand what you are going through. Supportive family and friends is also very valuable. When you reach out to others who love you, it doesn’t mean you are a burden to them.

Watch a video about five misunderstandings about bipolar disorder