It can be difficult to determine whether a woman is suffering from bipolar disorder, since there are so many other mood disorders occurring in women today. There are also other natural reasons that a woman’s mood may fluctuate, such as the natural change in hormones that occurs during the menstrual cycle and while pregnant.

If you may be suffering from bipolar or suspect someone in your life may be dealing with the disorder, it is important to learn how to tell the difference between bipolar symptoms in women and other types of mood swings.

Understanding the Symptoms

The first step is to understand the basic symptoms of bipolar that commonly affect female sufferers. In general, you will notice periods of extreme highs where the sufferer feels they are on top of the world and can accomplish amazing things. They may not sleep much during these periods, and they may commit themselves to big goals that most people would not take on.

Inappropriate behaviors such as binging on food, sex, alcohol, or illegal drugs may also occur during these periods. There is a sense of euphoria, like nothing bad can happen to the sufferer when they are on this high.

These extreme highs in mood are rotated by periods of extreme lows. During these lows,  women with bipolar may feel extremely depressed and may even become suicidal. They may sleep for unusually long periods of time, and they will likely lose interest in things that they otherwise love. They will drop interest in the huge goals they set for themselves while they were in the high stage.

Many women go through different moods depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle, but the emotions are more extreme when the mood fluctuations are due to bipolar disorder. During the highs, the following symptoms may be experienced:

-Extreme agitation at others and at circumstances of life.
-Racing thoughts that lead to very fast talking that is difficult to understand.
-Difficulty focusing on one thing.
-Extreme insomnia.
-Exaggerated belief in one’s own power or strength.
-Impulsive behavior.

During the lows, the following symptoms may be experienced:

-Sensation of extreme emptiness.
-Extreme fatigue and sleeping most hours of the day.
-Memory problems.
-Inability to make decisions.
-Suicidal thoughts and actions

Bipolar symptoms in women tend to be far more severe than the typical highs and lows experienced for other reasons. Also, these highs and lows will not follow the menstrual cycle and therefore cannot be attributed to normal female hormone fluctuations.

Is It Bipolar or Something Else?

The only way to know for sure if you are suffering from bipolar is to consult with a doctor familiar with the disorder. Yet, there are some signs will tell you that it may be time to see a doctor to evaluate your potential bipolar symptoms in women:

-Extreme mood swings within the same day. If you are experiencing extreme highs and lows within a single day and the process leaves you exhausted, then it is time to seek help. Normal hormonal fluctuations will not cycle this quickly within a given day. If you are not cycling up and down within a single day, do not assume you don’t have bipolar. There are different forms of bipolar and every sufferer has their own experience with the disorder.

-Severe depression that brings on suicidal thoughts and behaviors. When thoughts of self-harm or harming others come into play, you have to play it safe and go in for an evaluation. Even if you are found not to have bipolar, you can get help to save your own life.

-Your highs and lows bring on impulsive behaviors that you know are not right.

When in doubt, go in for an official evaluation!

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