Daily Patterns in Bipolar Moods
In a traditional model of bipolar disorder, a mood episode (depression/mania/hypomania) lasts (untreated) for a prolonged period of time. Typically, an episode will last from weeks to months. In a traditional model, people with untreated bipolar disorder only experience three or fewer mood episodes per year.
To many people that actually sounds like a great blessing because, for many people, mood changes come far more rapidly. People who experience more than three mood episodes per year have what’s known as rapid cycling bipolar disorder. People who have moods that only last days have ultra-rapid cycling bipolar disorder.
And people whose bipolar moods last less than that? That’s known as ultradian cycling bipolar disorder.
Rapid Cycling Variants of Bipolar Disorder
Even though I said traditional bipolar disorder has few mood episodes per year, that doesn’t mean that rapid cycling variants of bipolar disorder are rare. It’s estimated that 10-20% of people with bipolar disorder rapid cycle. Women are more likely to rapid cycle than others.
There is some argument in ultradian cycling bipolar disorder whether the person is truly experiencing mood episodes or whether what they’re experiencing really constitutes a bipolar mixed mood episode. This is more a question of labelling than anything else.
Mood Cycle Patterns in Bipolar Disorder
Now, in all this cycling, there might be a pattern. Tracking your mood/symptoms is an excellent way to find the patterns to your own moods. (You may have to track you mood for months to see this pattern, though.) For example some people do experience certain moods in certain seasons, quite reliably. You may see patterns that happen monthly (perhaps corresponding to a menstrual cycle, for example) or on other timetables.
You might also notice patterns within mood episodes. For example, you may be in a depressive episode but your mood still cycles within that depressive episode through various severities of depression/euthymia ("normal"). This is what happens to me.
Daily Patterns in a Bipolar Mood
What I see is a daily pattern when I’m in a depression. When I wake up, I feel okay, for the time being. I also feel okay through breakfast and the first part of the workday. Say, until around 11 A.M. Around 11 A.M. that’s when things start to fall apart. It usually begins with anxiety that builds until I’m overwhelmed and can’t function. And by 4 P.M. I’m so depressed my brain no longer thinks rationally and by 6 P.M. I might even be suicidal.
This pattern varies in severity but is reliable.
People with bipolar disorder, actually, often see daily patterns in mood although it’s more common to see the aggressive depression in the morning rather than the evening. (I just have to be different.)
Handling Daily Patterns in Bipolar Moods
In the following video I share tips on how I work with the moods that swing dramatically throughout the day.
Tracy, N. (2014, July 29). Daily Patterns in Bipolar Moods, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2014/07/daily-patterns-in-bipolar-moods
Author: Natasha Tracy
Some people are initially diagnosed with Bipolar to then later have their diagnosis changed to BPD (and the reverse occasionally happens as well).
So I was wondering if you had ever been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder or if you have this as an additional diagnosis. Thanks!
I like being me, I know food and medication and my cats help me
I love staying up all night, My friends have disappeared I am happy about that because those friends were toxic
I am opening my eyes to a new direction , I am smart, I will try anything to stay in check
I can not categorize what type of cycler I am.
But when i am down ,i am down,
I do not want to live alone with this but since I found this AWESOME BLOG site I do not have too.
There are a lot of great people that are bipolar
and I know i am one, I just have to now find my new mission or dream Peace to All
I thought this was funny: "Women are more likely to rapid cycle than <i>others</i>."
As far as cycling of bipolar disorders, I believe (thank God), they've phased out of the various levels of cycling in the new DSM. It almost becomes a (pardon my adage) 'pissing contest' for who has the more severe disorder sometimes. Silliness if you ask me. Even a "normal" person's moods change day to day or within a day, so I don't necessarily agree that the changes on those levels constitute a different classification. With bipolar, it's just more severe and more triggers. Just. As if it were that nice and simple.
I also slightly disagree with the notion that <i>"it's more a question of labeling than anything else" when considering how some people experience excessively rapid mood episodes, they may be instead experiencing a bipolar mixed mood episode.</i>
And I do mean only slightly. The reason is type of treatment as regards medication management. Otherwise, I'm on board.
Only we all know it does.
funny at soon to be 52 i am a really genuine person
it was nice to see this little video.
i wish i could change and snap out of this but lets face it, we deal with what is at this moment.
too many times wishing things were better. I try everyday to be positive, but that gray matter does not care sometimes, so those days i sleep.
Thank you for being real