Bipolar disorders in men are often misdiagnosed, misunderstood, or just not recognized. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can manifest differently in men than they do in women. Men also face unique challenges that lead to less successful treatment outcomes and higher rates of suicide.
This article will discuss the unique experience of men with bipolar disorder – both the signs and symptoms as well as the challenges faced during diagnosis, treatment and recovery for this population.
- 1 How It Feels Like Bipolar Disorder In Men
- 2 Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Men
- 3 Challenges Faced By Men In Bipolar Disorder
- 4 Coping Tools And Methods In Bipolar Disorder In Men
- 5 Psychologists On Bipolar Disorder In Men
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 A Word From Mantra Care
How It Feels Like Bipolar Disorder In Men
It is not easy to be an adult man with bipolar disorder. It’s even harder if you are still a teenager, or in your early twenties. The symptoms mainly include irritability and mood swings which can swing from high to low within minutes. Symptoms of rapid cycling bipolar disorder also show up quickly.
Men are more likely to be irritable rather than have extreme mood swings. It is very common for men with bipolar disorder to get frustrated easily. Especially when they are not able to achieve what they want. They may feel that everyone around them is out to make things difficult and sabotage their efforts. These feelings can aggravate anger which may be targeted at family members, friends, and partners.
In this state of mind, they may not even realize that their anger is misdirected or unjustified. This can lead to violent behavior which might result in physical fights with loved ones. In such a scenario it is very important for the individual suffering from bipolar disorder as well as those around them to be aware of the symptoms.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Men
While experiencing bipolar disorder symptoms, people might feel deep sadness or even lose interest in activities they used to enjoy doing before the condition started taking over their lives. This can affect a person’s thoughts and behavior as well as their daily life which will lead to depression.
Mania is a state of extreme happiness or irritability that can cause people with bipolar disorder symptoms to behave unusually. This condition will make you feel high and good about yourself. But it’s very difficult for other people around you who have no idea what this mental illness entails.
It’s normal to feel anxious in some cases. However, people with bipolar disorder may have a constant feeling of worry and fear for no apparent reason. It can lead them to develop various physical symptoms such as nausea or shortness of breath.
People who have the condition are at a higher risk of committing suicide. It is due to their deep depression during depressive states and their mania during manic states. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms that can lead you or someone else to commit suicide.
Lack of motivation and concentration
While experiencing bipolar disorder symptoms, people might feel as if they lack motivation in doing what needs to get done. Such as working multiple jobs just for the sake of living and not for the love of what they do. It might be hard to focus on simple everyday tasks that need to get done. It will eventually affect their relationships with family, friends, or loved ones.
Inability to control anger
It’s normal for people who have bipolar disorder symptoms to feel angry at certain life circumstances. Such as losing a job, not having enough money to pay the bills, or spending time away from loved ones. However, these feelings of anger might lead them into doing things that they, later on, regret. Such as punching walls or getting involved in road rage accidents which can get them arrested by law authorities.
Rapid thoughts and speech
Men with bipolar disorder can experience racing thoughts, which is one of its main signs for them to know that they have it. They tend to speak quickly, which is also a symptom of bipolar disorder in men.
Increased sex drive and sexually impulsive
Those with bipolar disorder in men may often feel a sudden surge of sexual energy, which they cannot control. They may start engaging in risky or new sexual behaviors that they would not normally do before the manic state of their illness.
NOTE: Bipolar disorder typically starts during adolescence or early adulthood. But older adults are sometimes diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well. If you’re an older adult who has been experiencing symptoms of mania or depression, make sure you talk to your doctor about bipolar disorder.
Challenges Faced By Men In Bipolar Disorder
The condition can be especially hard on men because of masculine gender role expectations and the stigma associated with mental disorders. In the sense, it is not easy for a man living with this disease as he has the pressure of being strong all the time. As it comes from society’s perception that they have to be strong and should not show any sign of weakness.
In addition, men with this mental condition face this set of challenges:
The illness can hurt relationships with family members and friends. Men with bipolar disorder can experience challenges in their relationships as well as managing the condition at home, school, or work. Thus, men with this mental condition should learn to prioritize their roles and responsibilities.
Job Loss and Financial Problems
Men with bipolar disorder can experience job loss due to the condition. Men may have difficulties in their work, school, or home life while suffering from this mental illness. Some of these issues may be related to social challenges such as lack of motivation, irritability, aggression, etc. which are prominent symptoms.
The condition often requires long-term treatment and this can be expensive for most people who have to pay out of their own pockets. Thus for anybody with bipolar disorder, it’s essential to get life insurance coverage. That is because it can provide financial protection for your family.
Extreme Mood Swings
In most cases, people who live with someone suffering from bipolar disorder often have to put up with some challenging behaviors. Such as mood swings that are unpredictable at times or even violence towards others. Therefore, it is essential to have patience and learn how to cope with the situation.
Suicidal Thoughts Or Suicide Attempts
About one in five people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide. People who suffer from this mental illness are also likely to think about suicide, especially when they’re feeling depressed or anxious. This is why it’s crucial for you and your loved ones to be aware of the warning signs that can help save someone’s life.
Lack Of Understanding From People Around You
Many people who don’t have bipolar disorder may not understand the nature of this mental illness. This lack of understanding can make you feel embarrassed, isolated, or even ashamed about your condition. Therefore it’s important to talk with loved ones and friends that are aware of your situation so they can help support you during tough times
Lack Of Family Support
It’s common for people with bipolar disorder to feel like they’re burdening their family, friends, or even loved ones. This can affect the emotional well-being of a person who has this mental condition. It makes it harder for them to cope with everyday challenges. Thus it is important to take care of your health by maintaining good relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.
Men with bipolar disorder are more likely than other men to have problems related to substance use, such as addiction or drug abuse. This is because people may try different ways on how they can cope up with their condition. But it does not work well for them all the time which leads them to develop an addiction.
Coping Tools And Methods In Bipolar Disorder In Men
Yoga and Meditation
Doing yoga and meditation is a very good way of coping with bipolar disorder in men. It helps to be more aware of your body, mind, emotions, etc. Being with nature is another great way you can use it as a tool for bipolar disorder in men. This provides us peace that we desperately need when we are going through a manic or depressive state.
Doing exercises such as running, swimming and yoga are very helpful in bipolar disorder for men. It not only helps you clear your mind but also provides us with that peace we need after being agitated due to the symptoms of mania and depression.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This works on the principle that our thoughts and feelings affect how we act. So, if you can change your thinking patterns through cognitive therapy then it will help to control mania or depression.
Men with bipolar disorder always find this very helpful as they not only share their experiences but also learn from each other’s mistakes. Thus, it provides them with an added support system to cope up with bipolar disorder in men.
This works on the principle that our experiences of life affect how we feel and act. So by changing your pattern of thinking through therapy you can change certain aspects related to mania or depression.
Taking up a Hobby
This is one of the most important tools in coping with bipolar disorder for men. It not only takes your mind away from the depressing thoughts but also provides you with some peace.
Family And Friends
We all know that family and friends are very helpful when it comes to dealing with anything in life especially bipolar disorder. They provide us with that crucial support system that we need to get through this difficult phase.
Taking up a Job
This is also one of the best ways in coping with bipolar disorder, especially for men. By taking up a job you not only keep yourself occupied but also give your mind something else to work on rather than going through depression or mania.
If you are not able to cope up with bipolar disorder, then keeping yourself busy is always helpful. This provides us peace and gives our mind something else to focus on rather than the symptoms of mania or depression.
You can also use socializing as a tool in coping with bipolar disorder especially in men. This helps to change your mood and also provides you with a much-needed support system.
Getting Medical Help
If none of these methods work then it is always advisable that you consult a doctor or psychologist immediately. They will guide you through therapy, medicines, etc. which are very helpful in coping up with bipolar disorder, especially for men.
Psychologists On Bipolar Disorder In Men
“Bipolar disorder in men tends to manifest itself differently than it does for women. Men generally have a higher rate of substance abuse and tend not to recognize or report their symptoms as readily as women, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.”
No doubt life with bipolar disorder can be challenging for men and those who live with them as well. It requires a lot of patience, motivation, a strong support system, and effective coping mechanisms. However, it might not always work the way they should but it’s important to find new ways to manage it.
Make sure to seek professional help from an experienced psychiatrist who can provide the best treatment for this disease. Further, it’s also important to have a strong support system and surround yourself with people who understand what you are going through especially during your manic stage when things get out of control.
Bipolar disorder is manageable and treatable. It’s important to be optimistic about the condition even if it feels like everything will go downhill because there are effective coping mechanisms you can use to manage your symptoms. You just need to find what works for you.
A Word From Mantra Care
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.