Veterans with bipolar disorder can experience a range of symptoms, including noticeable swings in energy, mood, or hours of sleep needed. Bipolar disorder involves distinct periods of unusually elevated, high energy lasting for at least several days (manic or hypomanic episodes), often accompanied by an overly good mood. Manic or hypomanic episodes are often followed by longer periods of low, depressed mood (depressive episodes).
Manic and hypomanic episodes include symptoms such as feelings of extreme energy and increases in mood, self-esteem, talkativeness, and activity level. Often, those experiencing manic or hypomanic episodes will have little need for sleep, as well as trouble turning off the racing thoughts in their minds. Many also report greater irritability during such times. This change in mood and behavior occurs for at least several days straight and is often very noticeable to others.
Episodes of depression include symptoms such as feeling sad or hopeless, having trouble concentrating, experiencing changes in sleep or appetite, and losing pleasure or interest in usual activities. These periods last for at least a few weeks and can make it hard to complete daily tasks.
If you have experienced any of the symptoms above on a regular basis, then you may have bipolar disorder.
In Veterans’ Own Words
Listen as Veterans describe living with bipolar disorder and finding treatment that works. Racing thoughts, trouble sleeping, and emotional ups and downs sometimes made their lives difficult. With professional support, they discovered ways to manage symptoms and succeed.