High-Functioning Bipolar Disorder: Is It Normal To Live With High-Functioning Bipolar Disorder?

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Are you living with bipolar disorder?

Do your symptoms or manic episodes disturb your day-to-day life?

Are your symptoms extreme or manageable?

Have you learned some skills to manage your symptoms?

Or

Do you want to learn some effective skills to manage your symptoms effectively?

If you think you’re able to manage your symptoms and if the symptoms do not disturb your day-to-day life, you might be living with “high-functioning” bipolar disorder. Let’s understand this term by breaking it into two words:

High-Functioning: The term “high-functioning” is used when symptoms are less severe or people are working toward hiding their symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is accompanied by mood swings and extreme energy levels.

Now, let’s combine these two terms, when people living with bipolar disorder can manage their symptoms and regulate day-to-day tasks easily, the condition is referred to as “high-functioning” bipolar disorder.  In this blog, let us explore everything we need to know about “high-functioning” bipolar disorder.

This blog covers:

What is “high-functioning” bipolar disorder?
Difference between “High-functioning” bipolar disorder and other types of bipolar disorder
Symptoms of “high-functioning” bipolar disorder
Diagnosis and Treatment of “High-functioning” bipolar disorder
Coping techniques for “high-functioning” bipolar disorder
Key Takeaway: When to connect with a professional?

What is “high-functioning” bipolar disorder?

“High-functioning” bipolar disorder is experienced when someone living with bipolar disorder can live a full stable life along with work, relationships, and hobbies. According to psychologists, people have learned the skills to manage their symptoms or episodes or they have found the right medication that worked effectively for them.

As of now, this condition is not listed under the DSM-5 and it is not approved to be an official diagnosis yet. In general terms, it can be used to describe someone who is able to live a stable life without any interference of symptoms related to bipolar disorder.

Difference between “High-functioning” bipolar disorder and other types of bipolar disorder

High-functioning
Bipolar I disorder
Bipolar II Disorder
Cyclothymia disorder

Symptoms
Manageable
Accompanied by manic episodes
Accompanied by depressive episodes
Accompanied by frequent shifts of hypomania and depressive episodes

Severity
None
Depends on the cause
Less severe
Less severe as compared to Bipolar I and II disorder

Time length
Depends on the severity of the symptoms
Up to 1 week or more
Up to 2 weeks or more
Depends on the severity of the symptoms

Symptoms of “high-functioning” bipolar disorder

People living with “high-functioning” bipolar disorder appear like they do not have any disorder at all. This might be possible because they have taken the right medication or have learned skills to manage their symptoms. However, if they intentionally hide their feelings, it can result in anxiety or stress which makes them more challenging to cope with. Below are some of the common symptoms experienced when living with “high-functioning” bipolar disorder:

Symptoms followed by the manic episode

Aggressiveness
Changes in appetite
Changes in sleep pattern
Extreme energy shifts
Impulsive or risky behavior
Invincible feelings
Irritation
Racing thoughts
Restlessness
Speaking too fast or rapidly

Symptoms followed by a depressive episode

Anxiety
Changes in sleep pattern
Difficulty doing tasks
Fatigue
Hopelessness
Lack of decision making
Lack of focus
Low energy
Memory problems
Sadness
Self-harm
Slow speech
Social withdrawal

Diagnosis and Treatment of “High-functioning” bipolar disorder

If you think you or your loved one might be experiencing “high-functioning” or any other type of bipolar disorder, you must connect with a mental health professional to get the right diagnosis and support.

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The diagnosis process of “high-functioning” bipolar disorder includes:

Detailed interview related to symptoms and medical history
Physical examination to rule out the presence of other mental health condition that mimics bipolar disorder

Quick-Tip: During the interview or diagnosis, please remain honest with your mental health professional about the intensity and frequency related to your symptoms.

Based on the diagnosis, your mental health professional might prescribe:

Medication: Medications like mood stabilizers are prescribed to manage mood swings. Antidepressants or anticonvulsants might be prescribed to treat specific symptoms.

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is one of the most effective treatment modes as it helps learning new healthy skills, managing conflict, and building a support system. Below are some of the commonly prescribed therapy options for treating or managing bipolar disorder:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Family-focused therapy (FFT)

Coping techniques for “high-functioning” bipolar disorder

Here are some quick self-help tips for coping with “high-functioning” bipolar disorder:

Take your medications regularly
Avoid conflicts and become supportive
Channel your energy healthily and productively
Join a support group
Work on your hobbies or activities that attract you
Eat a healthy meal and maintain a strict sleeping routine
Work on improving your quality of life

Key Takeaway: When to connect with a professional?

Being able to live positively with bipolar disorder or its symptoms is a creditable thing. However, if you’re hiding your symptoms because of stigmas, you might be worsening the condition internally. Therefore, it is always important to acknowledge your symptoms and connect with a mental health professional to get the right diagnosis.

I hope this blog helps you understand “high-functioning” bipolar disorder. Comment down and share your views on the same.

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Thanks for reading!

The post High-Functioning Bipolar Disorder: Is It Normal To Live With High-Functioning Bipolar Disorder? appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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