What Does the Bipolar Disorder Look Like?
First, it is important to address the illness with its proper term. Often people tend to self-diagnose their own or other people’s mental disorders and believe they’re right. If you or a close friend/relative/SO struggles with something, you should read the signs and symptoms.
So, what is bipolar disorder? It is a mental issue, also known as manic-depressive illness, that affects a huge part of the global population, especially the US. The disorder involves intense mood swings that might lead to hyperactive (manic episode) or depressive behavior. Since it’s written in the term (‘bipolar’) you’re never quite sure which of both may occur at any point of the day.
Common Symptoms of the Bipolar Disorder
There are specific symptoms, as we’ve already mentioned, that it is good for you to know and be able to detect in certain situations. Whether it is for you personally or for someone else, it would be helpful.
There are two ‘episodes’ people with bipolar disorder experience. One is known as a manic or hypomanic, which involves the following symptoms:
- Those are people that have a sudden boost of energy – they’re hyped, want to do a lot of things at the same time and have trouble sleeping at night.
- Having a manic episode also includes some issues with speech. The person may talk too fast for others to understand and often their thoughts go faster than their actual words.
- This episode may lead to compulsive actions like shopping and addictive gambling – anything that has to do with spending a huge amount of money.
- Except for speech and physical being, this affects people’s emotions – they get touchy, arrogant and might easily get involved in a fight because of it.
- Finally – a person, experiencing a manic episode, may do something dangerous that might affect them and other people. One common act of danger is having irrational and violent sex.
The other episode is known as depressive or, simply, depression. Something that a lot of people struggle with in one way or another. This is what it includes as symptoms:
- People that are in this depressive episode feel extremely down – they feel like they’re not worth anything, feel lonely and have lost all hope.
- Like with the manic state, when depressed, people have trouble sleeping. Sometimes they may sleep for long periods of times or they only sleep for an hour and stay wide awake.
- Depressed people have low energy and constantly feel tired.
- They do not feel the joy of anything in life and cannot express emotions like happiness. Everything seems grey and of no importance to them.
- The depressive episodes of the bipolar disorder may lead to dangerous and grim thoughts about death and suicidal.
Before we proceed, we would like to take the time and explain the disorder a bit further. We’ve prepared a small paragraph, where we’ve included the different categories of bipolar disorder and how they could be detected.
Categories of the Bipolar Disorder
As a lot of illnesses, both physical and mental, the bipolar disorder can occur in different ways. According to an article, there are a totally of 4 types of the disorder with similar symptoms. We will briefly explain each one below:
- Bipolar I Disorder – Those are manic episodes that may last up to 7 days. There are cases when people with this type of disorder need immediate hospital care because of the severe symptoms. It is possible that the person struggling may have depression and manic episodes at the same time. In this case they can last longer and recovery takes more time and intensive medical help.
- Bipolar II Disorder – This type is a bit different from the first one we’ve described. When a person has an II disorder, it is accompanied with a lot of depressive and hypomanic episodes. This may be dangerous, as these depressive episodes may lead to aggression and suicidal thoughts and actions. Depending on the person with the illness, depression may occur for a longer period of time.
- Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia) – This stage of the disorder can be observed in children/adolescents, as well as in adults. When you have cyclothymia, you experience a rollercoaster of hypomanic and depressive episodes that last up to 2 or more years. Opposite to our guess, you cannot address the symptoms of the episodes that we’ve mentioned earlier, which makes the disorder hard to diagnose.
- Other – When you cannot match any of the mentioned symptoms with any of the forms of the bipolar disorder, the condition is considered unspecified or/and related. You cannot detect for what period of time the episodes continue or repeat and you cannot track which one shows the most (depression or hypomania)
Now that we’ve got this out of the way, let’s focus on the main topic – how gambling and bipolar disorder are related and what you should expect from people which struggle with this mental illness. We went through a few trustworthy resources that gave us some interesting information that we would like to share with you.
The Effect of Gambling on Players with Bipolar Disorder
We mentioned gambling a bit earlier. We must be honest here – there is no exact proof that a bipolar disorder can trigger compulsive gambling. However, it is not impossible – as there are manic and depressive episodes, whatever the person goes through could possibly trigger compulsive action, gambling included. There are a few ways gambling affects people with the disorder:
- When people struggle with depression or depressive episodes, they often look for something that will distract them and calm them down. This may include watching movies, binge eating and compulsive gambling. As professionals say, gambling can be considered a self-medicate depression, which can be associated with relief.
- Same goes for when you have a manic episode. Since you’re fuller of energy and make impulsive decisions, gambling could also be one of the first activity that people would dive into.
- Gambling, as written above, excessive gambling is not always connected to the episodes you go through when you have a bipolar disorder. Gambling could be also triggered by OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) or by a major event that has affected you. A lot of people who have lost a loved one or have lost their job start drinking or gambling as a way to escape from reality.
Online gambling in particular can give a person with a bipolar or any disorder easy access and can bring them a step closer to an addiction. With modern technology growing and making people more ‘tied up’ to their phones and computers, people that have a mental illness could be easily influenced and drawn to compulsive actions.
Be Aware and Be There
It is hard to speak out when you or a close one struggles mentally. Having a bipolar disorder and a gambling addiction can be crushing and can change the way you and others see the world. It is important to seek help and to give help if possible!
There are a lot of facilities and professionals that could help. Of course, it is not going to be a one-time process – a person with a bipolar disorder and a gambling addiction should be consistent, should go to therapy for a long time. This could be exhausting; however, it could be liberating and could help people get back to their normal lives or to start over and improve.
Online gambling wise, there are superb websites and organizations where you could seek help for your gambling addiction. BeGambleAware, GamStop and more are just a few of the brands you will see at some of the popular online casinos. They prevent gamble abuse and help people face their addiction and try to work on it.
We hope our post has helped you get a better view on what a bipolar disorder can be. Combined with gambling addiction, it may be an awful experience for you and/or your loved ones. Remember that mental health should come first and do your best to seek or/and give help when needed.
We also hope that our series of blog posts about mental health will motivate you to get informed and see things from a different point of view. Let us know on our social media whether you like such articles and what we could write about next. And, if you haven’t read it yet, check out one of our latest post about drugs that cause gambling addiction.