Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness characterized by mood episodes that alternate between mania/hypomania and depression.
If you’re feeling manic/hypomanic you may have symptoms such as an inability to sleep, anxiety, talking rapidly or taking too much work or responsibility.
When you’re feeling depressed it can manifest itself as sadness and lack of pleasure. However it can manifest itself as irritability, which is an often overlooked symptom of bipolar disorder.
What is Irritability?
Irritability or feeling irritable is a state of nervous excitement brought on by life’s stress. It’s a normal reaction if you’re feeling tired or sick, or if you’re feeling anxious.
However, it’s an indication of a bigger problem if you’re feeling extreme irritability or if you’re irritable for an extended period of time.
When you’re irritable for a prolonged period of time it can make you angry.
Irritability is slightly different than anger, it’s when you feel easily frustrated or impatient. Anger happens when you’re lashing out at others for feeling irritable for a long period of time.
What is Bipolar Irritability?
A consequence of extreme or prolonged irritability is a form of anger called bipolar rage.
Bipolar rage is anger that’s impulsive, intense, erratic and explosive. An example would be if you’re asked a simple question and responding with irrational anger.
This means that you’re lashing out for no logical reason, on those you love and care for you. This can damage relationships and also lead to job loss and other forms of self-sabotage.
How To Manage Bipolar Irritability?
It’s important to take a healthy approach when you’re experiencing irritability or anger. You’ll find that your relationships with others and your overall quality of life improves when you learn how to cope and manage your bipolar mood episodes.
Coping Strategies Include:
- Sticking To a Treatment Plan: Irritability and anger can be effectively managed when you stick with a treatment plan. This includes talking to a therapist and taking medication.
- Identify Your Triggers: It’s important to learn what your triggers are. These can be events, people or requests that can upset you. These include arguments with loved ones, stressful events such as losing a job or death in the family and good things can be triggers as well, such as getting a promotion or getting married.
- Harness Your Negative Energy: If you feel like lashing out, but you want to avoid negative social interactions it helps to harness that negative energy. It can be done by taking deep relaxing breaths and feeling the weight being lifted off your shoulders, or if that’s not your thing start walking, jogging or even hiking to lift your spirits.
- If you’re interested in learning about relaxation techniques please click on the button below and read a previous post about mindfulness:
- Connect With Your Support Group: A support group can be family and friends that understand that you have bad days. Also, when you stay connected to your support network it can minimize the severity of depressive episodes.
How Do You Handle Irritability and Anger?
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