How A Person With Bipolar Thinks

How a person with bipolar thinks can vary drastically depending on their current state of mind.

This is because extreme fluctuations in mood, vitality, and activeness are associated with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a multifaceted mental health condition affecting millions of individuals worldwide.

It manifests through manic and depressive episodes. During manic episodes, people diagnosed with the condition experience rushing thoughts and impulsive decision-making.

When in a depressive state, people with bipolar disorder are prone to negative self-talk. This can lead them to feel worthless, hopeless, and unhappy.

This article explains how a bipolar person thinks during manic and depressive episodes. First, let’s explore the meaning of bipolar disorder.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition.

It’s marked by intense fluctuations in temperament, energy, and activeness.

People diagnosed with this disorder typically experience episodes of both mania and depression.

Manic episodes are marked by heightened feelings of euphoria and increased energy, affecting how bipolar people think. Other symptoms of mania include:

  • Agitation
  • Racing thoughts
  • Impulsiveness
  • Irritability
  • Drastic shifts in sleep patterns

Feelings of unhappiness, bleakness, and lethargy characterize depressive episodes, but there are other signs, such as:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Low motivation
  • Excessive fatigue

These mood swings can significantly interfere with an individual’s daily life, affecting professional, social, and emotional well-being.

Therefore, individuals with bipolar disorder need professional help to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

There are three main types of bipolar disorder that individuals may be diagnosed with. Each exhibits varying degrees of mood swings and symptoms. They include the following:

  • Bipolar I disorder: is marked by a minimum of one manic phase lasting at least seven days. Or one may experience severe symptoms of bipolar disorder and be hospitalized. Depressive episodes occur as well, lasting for up to two weeks.
  • Bipolar II disorder: it’s characterized by the presence of at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode. The hypomanic episodes are less intense than the full-blown manic episodes of Bipolar I.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: Also known as cyclothymia, this form of bipolar disorder has minor symptoms. It consists of chronic fluctuations between periods of hypomanic and depressive states.

Not everyone who exhibits symptoms of bipolar disorder is classified in those categories. They are sometimes listed as ‘other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders.’

How A Person With Bipolar Thinks

Manic and depressive episodes influence how bipolar people think.

During each state, the thought patterns of individuals with bipolar disorder can differ drastically. Let’s explore this in detail below.

During Mania

During a manic episode, an individual feels full of energy and euphoric.

They jump from one thought to another, coming up with several ideas for creative projects or solutions to problems. Also, they may experience grandiose beliefs and impulsive decision-making.

In addition, a person with bipolar thinks anything is possible in a manic state. They take on many activities, exhibiting more confidence than usual.

They may also feel like they don’t need much sleep, affecting their thinking ability.

During Depression

A depressive episode is marked by hopelessness and sadness. Therefore, one’s thoughts tend to be negative.

The thoughts swimming around their minds encourage feelings of worthlessness or guilt.

They may also struggle to focus, make decisions, and encourage themselves to complete tasks.

And they may lose their ability to think clearly because they have trouble sleeping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can A Bipolar Person Control Their Actions?

Yes, bipolar disorder affects an individual’s ability to control their actions.

During manic phases, they may take unusual risks and make impulsive decisions without regard for the repercussions.

While during depressive episodes, they may find it hard to engage in activities they usually enjoy and undertake day-to-day tasks.

However, the symptoms people with bipolar disorder experience can be managed with proper treatment and support.

Medication and therapy aid in mood regulation, allowing them to control their actions and lead fulfilling lives.

What Kind Of Thoughts Do Bipolar People Have?

A person with bipolar thinks differently depending on whether they’re in a manic or depressive state.

In a manic state, their thoughts are rapid, and they have grand ideas. They’re also full of liveliness and feel overjoyed.

In a depressive state, negative self-talk prevails, owing to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and sadness.

Making decisions and concentrating on tasks is more challenging than usual. Everyone experiences bipolar disorder differently.

Therefore, how people with bipolar think varies from one individual to the next.

How Do People With Bipolar Disorder Manage Symptoms?

Medication and therapy are typically used to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

A healthcare professional will prescribe mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics to help mitigate the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and family-focused therapy also help a person with bipolar disorder manage the condition.


Understanding bipolar people think during manic and depressive episodes can be helpful. It’ll allow you to provide better support and care for someone with this disorder. 

It’s crucial to seek professional assistance and guidance if you or someone you know experiences symptoms of bipolar disorder. Proper treatment and support can aid in mood regulation and improve quality of life.

Remember, bipolar disorder affects each person differently. Therefore, it’s essential to tailor treatment to each individual’s specific needs.

With proper care, those with bipolar disorder can lead rewarding lives and cope with their symptoms effectively.

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