What are Bipolar Mood Swings?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2018
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Bipolar mood swings are one of the symptoms and primary indicators of manic depressive disorder. These changes in temperament can range from hypomania to depression or anywhere in between the two extremes. There are typically symptoms that accompany the mood swings, but these will vary since the severity of the mood changes often vary.

To understand bipolar mood swings, it may be helpful to analyze the condition in the context of its name. Bipolar, in general terms, means having two poles, such as is seen with electricity. These are usually opposites, such as a positive and a negative. With manic depressive disorder, a person's mood can be at two opposite poles: mania and depression.

Although bipolar mood swings can cause a person to change from one extreme to another, it is important to note that either state can be very problematic. It can also be very troublesome that the change can occur quickly and without the knowledge of the person affected. A person who is suffering from manic depressive disorder may not be aware of his bipolar moods swings. It is also possible that he could recognize his change in temperament but instead of recognizing it as a pattern, he may believe it is attributable to legitimate causes.


Bipolar mood swings can affect a person's ability to function normally. To begin with, it can wreak havoc on relationships, especially when associates are unaware they are dealing with a person who is bipolar. Additionally, these changes in temperament can affect a number of other things such as motivation, judgment, and sexual behavior. It is common for bipolar mood swings to be largely responsible for job loss, behavioral issues, and financial problems.

When a person is depressive, he may be socially withdrawn, feel incapable of experiencing pleasure, and have suicidal thoughts. When a person is manic, she may make risky and destructive decisions, indulge excessively in certain behaviors such as spending money, and experience insomnia. It is also important to note, however, that the severity of the mood swings are not always consistent. Sometimes the changes in mood are slight and at other times they can be drastic.

Treatment can help to regulate bipolar mood swings. Many professionals admit, however, that it may be very difficult if not impossible to completely get them under control. Treatment often involves medication. Anyone suffering from bipolar disorder will likely be advised to attempt to recognize the triggers of his mood swings and to try to exercise control over them. Triggers are factors that instigate bipolar mood swings, such as season changes or consuming alcohol.



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