When someone has bipolar disorder, it affects every aspect of their lives. The family and friends of someone with this illness may not know they have it, in which case their behavior and emotions can seem baffling. Even people who know a loved one has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder cannot fully understand what it feels like to live with the disorder. They may wonder, “How does a person with bipolar disorder think?” New View Wellness in Atlanta explores what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder and the thought processes that go along with it. 

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that used to be called manic depression. Someone with bipolar disorder experiences uncontrollable mood swings that range from depressive symptoms to manic highs. The person typically cycles through these ups and downs at a rate of anywhere from every few weeks to a few times each year. The depressive stage of bipolar disorder causes a person to be quite depressed and hopeless and have difficulty participating in life. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the manic stage causes a person to have excessive energy, go without sleep for long periods of time, and experience a desire to engage in sometimes dangerous behaviors. 

How a person with bipolar thinks is related to their current emotions. They constantly are in a battle against their emotions because they cannot regulate them. As a result, the individual’s personal and professional lives often suffer due to their mental state. Medications can help manage bipolar disorder, but the illness itself is not curable. 

What are the Different Types of Bipolar Disorder?

There are different types of bipolar disorder, which means a person should have a qualified clinician perform an assessment to determine which type they have. The kinds of bipolar disorder include:

Bipolar I: The most common type of bipolar disorder causes severe swings between depressive and manic episodes.

Bipolar 2: This type involves less severe depressive and manic episodes and typically involves more of the depressive episodes.

Cyclothymia: This type includes mild depressive episodes and hypomania with periods of feeling regulated emotions in between. A person must have these symptoms for at least two years in order to receive a diagnosis of cyclothymia. 

Unspecified: When someone exhibits signs of bipolar disorder but does not fit an exact diagnosis of the previous described types of the illness, they are said to have unspecified bipolar disorder. 

How Does a Person With Bipolar Disorder Think?

If you want to know how does a person with bipolar think, consider the mood swings they experience. When they are in a depressive state, nothing seems positive, and their motivation is low. Even with loved ones encouraging them to “hang in there” or think positively, their thought processes are trapped in a low point they cannot escape. When they move into a manic phase, the person honestly believes all is well and they are invincible. They use their increased energy in often chaotic ways and think those who try to reign them in simply don’t understand them. 

Part of how a person thinks when they have bipolar disorder involves just trying to keep their heads above water. They ride a rollercoaster of emotions and often find it difficult to communicate to others what their thought processes and emotions are like. 

How to Communicate With Someone With Bipolar Disorder

Keep a few things in mind when trying to communicate effectively with someone who has bipolar disorder. Try to talk to them when they aren’t in the middle of a manic or depressive cycle because they are more capable of taking on board what you’re saying. Let them know you realize they have a legitimate illness, and you sympathize with how difficult that must be. Offer to listen to them talk about how bipolar disorder feels. Knowing their thought processes can help you be more sympathetic and supportive. Additionally, offer to help them find treatment and support them while they are in the process of getting help. 

How is Bipolar Disorder Treated?

Treatment for bipolar disorder should come from professionals trained to treat mental health disorders. They understand the answer to the question “How does a person with bipolar think?” Someone who has severe bipolar disorder may start their treatment by attending a residential program. Others find that outpatient care provides them with what they need to begin the healing process. Outpatient programs include Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) that consist of therapy sessions that take place a few hours per day on three or four days per week. For those who qualify, virtual IOP can be done from wherever they have access to privacy and an internet connection. Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) require more hours per week but also allow the person to attend their sessions in a treatment facility without having to move out of their homes.

Prescription medications also help people control their symptoms of bipolar disorder. 

Find Treatment For Bipolar Disorder in Atlanta

If you have a loved one with a mental health disorder and find yourself wondering, “How does a person with bipolar think?”, you likely want to help them find the best care possible. New View Wellness in Atlanta provides outpatient treatment for bipolar disorder that helps people learn to improve their mental health. We offer access to different kinds of therapy modalities that teach people to minimize their symptoms wherever possible. As a result, they experience a more even keel with their emotions and handle triggering events with better outcomes.

Contact us now to find out how we can help you or someone you love get help for bipolar disorder. Our admissions staff can tell you more about our program and provide a free insurance check.