Self-Absorption & Bipolar Disorder are Intertwined

Self-Absorption & Bipolar Disorder are Intertwined

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Last Updated on March 27, 2021 by Content

Mental health disorders are often misunderstood. It is conceivable that a person without bipolar disorder will mistakenly think mania and depression indicate:

  • Self-absorption
  • Selfishness
  • Manipulation
  • Demanding behavior
  • entitlement 

Bipolar disorder is often confused with Narcissistic personality disorder, but people with NPD are none of these things, but they share similar symptoms and caused. Hence they are easily misunderstood. People with bipolar disorder struggle with manic and depressive episodes. This struggle can come off as something other than a mental health issue. It usually comes off as self-absorption to others who do not understand the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of bipolar disorder.

“Some Experts say self-absorption could also be terms as a mental illness in some cases.”

People with bipolar disorder usually experience amplified emotions, and as a result, they struggle with their interpersonal relations. They can also appear to be self-absorbed, resistant to reason, and they seem to be nonchalant about the feelings of those around them. However, new Melbourne-based research shows that people with the disorder have a reduced ability to recognize emotions in other people’s faces.

This inability appears to be more pronounced in recognizing negative emotions, like anger or fear – this discovery has potentially severe consequences for interpersonal relationships.

Why Do Bipolar People Get so Angry?

People with bipolar disorder quickly become angry or irritable during their episodes, and this due to them experiencing aggravated symptoms of the disorder. Symptoms such as aggression and irritability are prevalent in people with bipolar disorder, and it is usually confused with self-absorption. These symptoms can be treated\subdued with medication and therapy. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are more likely to worsen when left untreated.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The leading cause of bipolar disorder is not known, but there several factors which may be involved, such as:

  • Biological differences: People with bipolar disorder are said to have physical changes in their brains. The changes’ significance is still uncertain but might eventually help pinpoint the causes.
  • Genetics: Bipolar disorder is most common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, that also have the condition. There is ongoing research to find genes responsible for causing bipolar disorder.

Types of Bipolar 

There are several types of bipolar disorder. They may also include mania, hypomania, and depression. The symptoms can cause unpredictable mood and behavior changes, these are often mistaken for self-absorption, and they cause significant distress and difficulty in life.

  • Bipolar One Disorder: This is when you’ve had at least one manic episode preceded or hypomanic major depressive episodes. And in some cases, mania triggers a break from reality, which is called psychosis.
  • Bipolar II Disorder:  It occurs when you have at least one major depressive episode and one hypomanic episode; however, you have never had a manic episode.
  • Cyclothymia: This is a mild form of bipolar disorder. This is when you have too many hypomanic or depressive episodes within a year or two. These are often less severe than major depression.

Certain drugs, alcohol can also induce bipolar disorders, or it can be due to a medical condition. Examples are Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.

Bipolar two disorder is a separate diagnosis from bipolar one disorder, and it’s not the milder form. While the manic episodes of bipolar one disorder are very severe and dangerous, people with bipolar two disorder are depressed for more extended periods, which causes significant impairment.

Even though bipolar disorder can first occur at any age, it’s mostly diagnosed in the teenage years or early 20s. The symptoms vary with each person and over time.

What Triggers Bipolar?

Symptoms of bipolar disorder may be caused by a number of causes. A genetic predisposition to psychological disorders, environmental conditions, and health factors, such as chemical imbalances, are among these factors. Any of these factors can cause bipolar disorder symptoms, which is one of the reasons why dealing with bipolar disorder can be confusing for both people with the disorder and their families. Since bipolar disorder saps so much energy from their bodies, it’s impossible for them to empathize with others or be there for them. Treatment for bipolar disorder is the first step toward resolving the disorder’s “selfish” symptoms.

Self-Absorption & Episodes of Mania in Bipolar Disorder

Manic episodes of bipolar disorder bring about a surge of energy and heightened mood in an individual. Sometimes these episodes accompany grandiose behavior, excessive confidence, racing thoughts, pressured/spastic speech, heightened activity levels, and aggressive behavior.

The most vital symptom of a manic episode is grandiosity. According to Psych Central, “inflated self-esteem are broadly present, and it runs the gamut from uncritical self-confidence to grandiosity” 1. This demonstrates that self-absorption is a symptom and not a personality trait. It may merely be a person’s attempt to capitalize on the energy, confidence, and activity caused by a manic bipolar episode.

An improvement in mood & energy can make people with bipolar disorder feel alive, especially if they have recently experienced a depressive episode.

A person may feel energized to fix problems, take control, and make positive changes at this time. Therefore, those suffering from bipolar have their thoughts focused on improving themselves and tackling new challenges. This is confused with self-absorption. Also, bipolar individuals also experience racing thoughts, become impulsive, and The inability to focus can make bipolar individuals appear self-absorbed or less concerned with others’ opinions, thoughts, emotions, and ideas.

Spastic speech is also known as pressured speech. It is commonly seen as a symptom of bipolar disorder. When a person is experiencing spastic speech, they have an extreme need to share their thoughts, ideas, or comments.

This is often caused by experiencing a manic episode. The speech usually comes out rapidly, and it doesn’t stop even at appropriate intervals. It is difficult to understand what’s being said during a spastic speech.

Additionally, a person with spastic speech can’t carry on a conversation because they will not pause for other people to speak, and this will come off like they’re self-absorbed. 

Self-Absorption & Clinical Depression in Bipolar Disorder

Depressive episodes caused by bipolar disorder can also appear as self-absorption or selfish behavior because it causes people to withdraw from loved ones and themselves.

According to The Guardian, depression is an illness of loneliness. Untreated depressives do not have friends since the illness robs them of the vitality that lasts a lifetime and causes them to remain in a state of paralysis, which results in difficulty responding to comfort.

Depression makes people experience extreme sadness, hopelessness, and exhaustion. People suffering from depression may withdraw due to their intense feelings of sadness. Depression often causes one to avoid relationships, responsibilities, social interactions, activities, intimacy, and work. The condition is falsely labeled as being self-absorbed when in fact, it is when someone seeks out social support and understanding the most.

Can Bipolar Disorder be Cured?

Bipolar disorder is chronic, and it can be a lifelong condition, so treatment options should be considered for the long-term. Individuals need to quickly integrate treatments into their lives and maintain them over time to be most effective.

Medications are not recommended for long-term use since they can cause tolerance, dependency, and addiction. Behavioral therapies, counseling, self-help groups, and psychotherapies are beneficial. With the proper treatment, one can manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. This will help you live a more balanced, everyday life. Many types of treatment are available for bipolar disorder, and you or a loved one may find one that works best. It is advised that loved ones of patients who have bipolar disorder should also seek therapy and read more to help them navigate things easily. What works for one person might not work for all, but you can pinpoint the right and most effective options with a personalized treatment plan.

Things like maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, staying physically active, relaxing, and getting in touch with one’s spiritual side contribute to the successful treatment of Bipolar disorder. An integrated treatment program offers tools, techniques, and skills to help patients achieve this.

What can People who have Bipolar Disorder with Self-Absorption do to deal with their Self-Absorption?

Everyone has a distinctive personality. That personality doesn’t change much over the course of a lifetime. It might change sometimes, but it stays the same, and this is the same for people who have bipolar disorder and self-esteem issues. Self-absorption may be especially prominent during manic or hypomanic episodes. Those around may not notice their self-absorption all the time.

Psychotherapy is so far the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder.

The focus of the treatment should be:

  • Managing moods and self-absorption tendencies
  • Reducing the intensity of manic and hypomanic episodes
  • Work on self-absorption in therapy when symptom-free

Those with these conditions should understand the causes of their emotions. It may also help them learn to relate better to others. This may lead to more rewarding and intimate relationships.

Find Help with Bipolar Disorder

Please contact us at 615-490-9376 if you are interested in learning more about treatment options for bipolar disorder. For any concerns\questions you might have, you can reach us 24/7. We will also help you connect with the right treatment and services to match your needs.

Sources

  1. Steve, Bressert. “Manic Episode Symptoms.” Psych Central. Jan 15 2018.
  2. Andrew, Solomon. “Depression Is a Disease of Loneliness.” The Guardian. Aug 16 2014.

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