Bipolar Disorder Signs, Symptoms & Effects

Understanding the signs, symptoms, and possible effects of co-occurring bipolar disorder can be an important first step on the path toward improved health. Sierra by the Sea in Newport Beach, California, is proud to be a source of accurate and relevant information about the impact of co-occurring bipolar disorder.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Learn about co-occurring bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes changes in mood, energy, and behavior. There are several types of bipolar disorder that are distinguished by the presence of manic, hypomanic, and depressive episodes.

Manic and hypomanic episodes are characterized by an elevated mood, heightened energy, and impulsivity. Hypomanic episodes are less intense than manic episodes, and typically last for shorter periods of time. Depressive episodes are periods where individuals experience low energy, hopelessness, and often have difficulty engaging in typical daily tasks.

Bipolar I disorder consists of manic episodes lasting for at least one week. A person with bipolar I disorder may also have hypomanic or major depressive episodes, but these are not necessary for a bipolar I diagnosis. Individuals with bipolar II disorder will have experienced or will currently be experiencing major depressive and hypomanic episodes.

Another type of bipolar disorder, called cyclothymic disorder, is diagnosed when an adult experiences at least two years of both hypomanic and depressive periods without ever fulfilling the criteria for an episode of mania, hypomania, or major depression.

Some individuals also begin using drugs or alcohol in a misguided attempt to ease symptoms of bipolar disorder. For this reason, many adults with bipolar disorder develop addictions.

While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, receiving care can increase your chances of recovery. The services we provide to address bipolar disorder can give you the resources you need to manage your symptoms and regain control over your life. Receiving care for bipolar disorder is one of the best ways to prevent the condition from having a negative impact on you or a loved one.

Why Consider Treatment at Sierra by the Sea

Why seek treatment for co-occurring bipolar disorder at Sierra by the Sea in Newport Beach, CA

Living with co-occurring bipolar disorder has the potential to negatively influence many areas of a person’s life. At Sierra by the Sea, we treat individuals who are primarily struggling with addiction but may also have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

While negative outcomes of co-occurring bipolar disorder may not always occur, an individual is at much higher risk for these results if they do not receive treatment. Individuals with co-occurring bipolar disorder often have difficulty keeping up at work or in school due to their behaviors and mental symptoms.

These symptoms of bipolar disorder may also cause trouble for an individual in keeping or forming relationships or fulfilling responsibilities. Impulsive behaviors that are common with co-occurring bipolar disorder may lead to legal issues, homelessness, and personal injury. Impulsivity can also cause individuals to make decisions that further impact their physical health, such as substance use.

By receiving treatment at Sierra by the Sea, you are increasing the chances you can live a full and healthy life by learning to manage the symptoms of co-occurring bipolar disorder. At Sierra by the Sea, we provide you with a range of treatment tools and therapies to improve your mental health and regain personal control of your wellness. Our specially trained team members use evidence-based treatment methods to address co-occurring bipolar disorder.

The negative outcomes of co-occurring bipolar disorder are not inevitable. You can take the first step toward your improved health and wellness by entering treatment at Sierra by the Sea. If you have questions along the way, any member of our treatment team will happily guide you through the process and make you as comfortable as possible. If you are interested in learning more about treatment at Sierra by the Sea, reach out to our team and explore all we have to offer.


Statistics about bipolar disorder

The National Institute of Mental Health has recorded the following statistics regarding bipolar disorder is the United States:

  • In 2018, women (2.8%) and men (2.9%) were almost equally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
  • Approximately 4.4% of adults are diagnosed with bipolar disorder in their lifetime.
  • Of the adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder, 82.9% of individuals are considered significantly impaired compared to 17.1% who are moderately impaired.

Causes & Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder

Potential causes of co-occurring bipolar disorder

As with many mental health conditions, bipolar disorder can be influenced by genetic and environmental factors. The presence of one or several of these risk factors does not guarantee someone may develop bipolar disorder. These risk factors simply indicate an individual has an increased risk for developing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Some of the leading factors that place an individual at risk for bipolar disorder include:

  • Substance use, including drugs and alcohol
  • A family history of bipolar disorder
  • History of head injuries or brain damage
  • Stressful life events
  • The structure and development of the brain
  • Living in a high-income country

Signs & Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of co-occurring bipolar disorder

Individuals with bipolar disorder may have various symptoms at any given time, depending on whether they are experiencing a manic, hypomanic, or depressive episode. Hypomanic and manic symptoms are very similar, with manic symptoms being more severe. Depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder are typically not as severe as those of depressive disorders. Some of the symptoms of manic, hypomanic, and depressive episodes include:

Symptoms of manic or hypomanic episodes:

  • Inability to focus on one activity, often starting and not finishing projects
  • Mood changes such as inflated self-esteem, irritability, and paranoia
  • Difficulty communicating or maintaining relationships
  • Impulsive and risk-taking behaviors
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Memory changes

Symptoms of depressive episodes:

  • Excessive sleeping
  • Social isolation
  • Difficulty fulfilling responsibilities
  • Trouble focusing or remembering
  • Mood changes such as suicidal thoughts, helplessness, and hopelessness
  • Weight loss or gain due to changes in appetite

Effects of Bipolar Disorder

The negative impact of co-occurring bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder has the potential to negatively impact many aspects of an individual’s life. This makes it especially important for someone with this condition to seek care to improve their quality of life and find a way to cope with their condition. Some of these effects can include:

  • Underperformance at work or in school
  • Difficulty maintaining friendships or forming new relationships
  • Legal issues
  • Homelessness
  • Personal injury or other medical complications

While this condition may be difficult to live with, an individual can set themselves up for a better outcome by receiving the care they need. None of these outcomes is guaranteed, and you can decrease your chances of these negative effects by seeking help for bipolar disorder. The best way to get your life back within your control is to receive assistance in improving your health and wellness.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Common co-occurring disorders among people who develop bipolar disorder

Individuals living with bipolar disorder may also be diagnosed with other mental health conditions. This can make addressing both conditions more difficult to manage once an individual seeks help for bipolar disorder. Some co-occurring disorders that individuals with bipolar disorder often have are:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Recovering from substance use disorders is a challenging journey that feels more doable in an environment that tends to each individual’s complex needs and strengths. Our goal is to foster a treatment experience that is built on compassion, hope, and caring, and fueled by excellence in the provision of evidence-based and trauma-informed care.

– - Anonymous