Everything You Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder
Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Sexuality, Mania & Health
Bipolar disorder is a confusing condition, especially for someone viewing it from the outside.
According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), bipolar disorder affects up to 1% of the population in South Africa, which is about 500,000 people.
Formerly known as manic-depressive illness, Bipolar Disorder is a brain and behaviour disorder characterized by severe shifts in a person's mood and energy, making it difficult for the person to function. These moods are not set at one specific time, they may happen at any given time going from one extreme low phase (depression) lasting for months and manic, high phases (mania or hypomania) which can make sufferers feel out of control due to the symptoms.
People with bipolar disorder may have trouble managing everyday life tasks at school or work or maintaining relationships. There is no cure, but there are many treatment options available that can help to manage the symptoms.
Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counselling (psychotherapy).
What is Bipolar Disorder & Mania?
Bipolar is an imbalance within the emotional-mental levels, causing extreme highs and extreme lows. These are defined as episodes of highs (mania) or lows (depression). There is a reference and classification as Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2, here is a brief outline on the differences of the two.
- Bipolar 1 – when one manic episode is revealed. A depressive episode may not occur before or after manic episode. Less severe episode is called a hypomanic episode.
- Bipolar 2 – experiencing depressive episode that may last for a period of two weeks and a hypomanic episode lasting for at least a period of four days.
What About Mania?
Mania can be a dangerous condition.
A common symptom of bipolar disorder, mania is a psychological condition that causes a person to experience unreasonable euphoria, very intense moods, hyperactivity, and delusions.
People may not sleep or eat while in a manic episode. They may engage in risky behaviours and harm themselves. People with mania have a greater risk of experiencing hallucinations and other perceptual disturbances.
Associated to bipolar 1 one may experience the following moods during a manic episode:
- abnormally elevated
- persistently irritable
- unusually energetic
A persons’ behaviour during mania is vastly different from what is considered normal behaviour. You may find some people become more energetic, goal directed with abnormal energy and irritability.
Mania episodes usually lasts a week unless a person is sent to hospital.
Some of the other symptoms a person may experience during a manic episode include:
- affecting schoolwork.
- easily distracted.
- engaging in risky behaviours.
- feeling like you need less to no sleep.
- feelings of inflated self-esteem and self-importance.
- lost touch of reality.
- making big business investments.
- psychotic behaviours.
- racing thoughts.
- sexual indiscretions.
- shopping sprees.
- unusually talkative.
How does a sufferer cope?
Manic episodes vary from person to person.
To effectively address the symptoms, it is best to look towards finding professional help.
Hypnotherapy is a particularly effective method used to discover the root cause of issues and apply tools to assist the individual in achieving their goal. It is always advisable to seek those experienced in dealing with such matters, as the process requires time, patience, and trust in the professional hypnotherapist.
If you are experiencing mania, within the heat of the moment it is unlikely you will understand and realise you are having a manic moment. To assist yourself until you find a professional is to set goals on a plan of action, this will allow you to prepare.
As a certified hypnotherapist I have been dealing with people from all walks of life, assisting them since the 80’s with counselling, mentoring, coaching and hypnosis.
Many of those who have been utilising my services have also been those with severe manic episodes. Some were not aware they were manic, by identifying their symptoms we were able to forge forward with their own inner healing journey.
I strongly encourage family support during this time to unsure the patient is not alone.
In my experience is best to avoid certain triggers.
Triggers stimulate a negative effect on your moods, how you see the world and how you conduct and express yourself. The following triggers will certainly worsen mania:
- illegal drugs, mood-altering prescription drugs.
- pornographic stimulation.
- sexual fantasy.
- stressful situations encouraging anger.
Positive triggers can include.
- good lively light company.
- stimulation of relaxation.
- good lighting in your home and surroundings.
- good music that soothes the soul, light-hearted, feel good stuff.
- save money.
- socializing with feel good people, events, places.
Taking care of yourself is key to managing bipolar disorder. Along with your regular bipolar treatment, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a consistent routine can help you control manic and depressive episodes.
"I recommend four pillars of health — nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and good sleep hygiene."
- healthy eating.
- drinking enough water.
- exercise according to your health levels sleep enough.
- sleep with no lights on to get a better deeper sleep.
- keep all technology switched off 1 hours before sleeping.
- make love with your partner, no sex, no fantasizing of others when you are making love to the love of your life.
- take up yoga, Tai-chi, Pilates, breath work.
- set goals for a healthier eating, try vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, if it is for you (see professional for healthier life changes).
- find a creative hobby.
- dance, art, pottery, music, theatre, classical music.
- regular eating regular sleeping, early to bed early to wise keeps you emotionally-mentally wise.
- set up daily reminder of motivation.
- no unnecessary spending, watch your finances, keep track of your finances, ask for help if you need – trusted person or people only – utilise your discernment always.
- save money - set goals.
Sexuality & Mania
It is an established and researched fact that bipolar related issues can have an effect on some sufferer’s sexual activity.
Behaviour, sex drive and sexual impulses that is not your typical behaviour will most likely occur during mania. Sexual activity may increase during a state of a manic episode, this can be excessive at times and referred to as hypersexuality.
This may also be the opposite where a loss of interest in sex becomes evident. This may create issues in relationship affecting the self-esteem of both individuals.
Examples of hypersexuality during a manic episode may include the following:
- continuous sexual affairs.
- risk of STD’s.
- risk to relationships.
- increase to excessive masturbation.
- greatly increased sexual activity.
- no feeling of sexual satisfaction.
- promiscuous, inappropriate, and risky sexual behaviour
- increased use of pornography
- preoccupation with sexual thoughts.
- sex with multiple partners, including strangers.
- sexual fantasies – paedophilia, items, animals.
Hypersexuality is defined as an increased need or pressure for sexual gratification and can be a challenging symptom if you have bipolar disorder.
During a manic episode, your sex drive and sexual impulses can often lead to sexual behaviour that’s atypical for you when you aren’t experiencing episodes of mania. On average 58% of people experiencing mania, also experience bipolar hypersexuality, and it is more prevalent in women than men.
Understandably, if you're experiencing a manic episode and you succumb to your urges, you're putting your relationships at risk, as well as yourself.
Marriages and relationships become unstable as sexual urges are uncontrollable. This is not only an adult issue, but it may also be evident within children, teens, and younger adults exhibit inappropriate sexual behaviour towards adults. This may be observed as flirting, inappropriate touching and expressing heavy foul sexual language towards adults.
On the other end of the spectrum some sufferers may experience the opposite of hypersexuality during a depressive episode. This includes low sex drive, which is called hyposexuality. Depression very commonly causes a lack of interest in sex.
Hyposexuality can often create relationship problems because your partner may not fully understand your sex drive issues.
This is especially true if you have extreme mania with hypersexual behaviour and then suddenly experience depression and lose interest in sex. Your partner may feel confused, frustrated, or rejected.
Identify, Recognise the Triggers
Some people find that certain triggers intensify feelings of hypersexuality or hyposexuality. Figure out which situations may trigger your shifts in mood so that you can avoid them whenever possible. For example, stress and alcohol might bring on depressive episodes.
- identify situations that trigger you.
- the moods created.
- does alcohol have any affect?
- what do you need to do to understand the triggers?
- how do you deal with the sexual issues?
- does medication affect your sexual performance?
Medication & Education
In addition to psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, certain medications may help because they act on brain chemicals linked to obsessive thoughts and behaviours, reduce the chemical "rewards" these behaviours provide when you act on them, or reduce sexual urges.
Ask your doctor about medications that are the least likely to have sexual side effects. There are also medications available that help people, with or without bipolar disorder, to have a healthy sex life.
As a general rule you should:
- known what medication you are taking.
- know the side effects.
Knowledge & Wisdom in Understanding Sexual Health Issues
Understanding what can happen as a result of sexual activities is important, as it relates to events that may be unintended, such as an unplanned pregnancy.
Having clarity about your sexual actions can also help to reduce your chances of contracting STD’s, such as HIV.
This is especially important during periods of hypersexuality.
- understand the cause and effect, consequences are a result of your actions.
- protect yourself and your partner. planning prevents unwanted pregnancy.
- protected sex to prevent STD’s.
Sex Therapy Through Hypnotherapy
Intimacy is a feeling of connection.
Using hypnotherapy can be a wonderful way to help break down walls and exploring causes that may have been holding you back in your relationships. During hypnotherapy can help to delve deeper into the psyche, and re-pattern the negative associations with sexual relations.
- hypnotherapy can assist with behavioural issues.
- hypnotherapy helps manage your sexual lows and highs.
- individual and couples therapy through hypnotherapy.
Does hypnosis CURE bipolar disorder? No. Curing bipolar disorder would mean correcting a chemical imbalance in a person's brain. Has medicinal hypnosis achieved dramatic, lasting effects in the past for people? Yes - hypnosis has had a multitude of effects on many people for a very wide range of things, but nothing consistent enough to be considered a cure for anything as acute as bipolar disorder.
The good news is Bipolar Disorder is treatable.
As a hypnotherapist, my approach to whether it's "bipolar" or "depression" or any other label –– is to find out what is really going on.
Using powerful hypnotic techniques, I will help you move from being the mere plaything of uncontrollable mood swings to being a real agent in your own life and master of your own wellbeing.
The goal with hypnosis for bipolar disorder is to reduce the client’s stress levels and help them to focus on the positive aspects. This usually leads to more self-compassion and acceptance of our uniqueness and fallibility, and thusly creates excellent neuropathways of healing.
Dr John Souglides Ph.D.