Do I Have Bipolar Disorder?

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We all have times when we feel low and uninterested in our usual activities and other times when we feel energized and like everything is great. These mood changes are simply part of being human, and it is completely normal to experience them from time to time. In some people, however, extreme swings in mood is a symptom of bipolar disorder. Here are a few indications that you might want to be evaluated by a professional for bipolar:

  • Your periods of unusually high or low mood last 7 days or more.
  • You are having difficulty with day to day functioning.
  • You have gotten in trouble with the law or at work or school.
  • You engage in reckless activities (shopping sprees, sexual promiscuity, fast driving) when you are feeling unusually energetic.
  • You are becoming isolated from other people.
  • You are a young adult (the most common age of onset) and/or have a family history of mental illness (particularly bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or unipolar depression).
  • You're worried that your emotions and behaviors aren't normal.
  • Your friends and family have expressed concern over your behavior and mental health.

These are just a few indications that your mood problems may be caused by bipolar disorder. Even if you think bipolar disorder is unlikely (and it is a rare disorder, with an estimated worldwide prevalence of less than 5%), if any of the above points are true for you it is a wise move to be evaluated by a mental health professional.

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