Signs the Man You’re Dating Has Bipolar Disorder
Signs of bipolar in a man can are hugely variable, and they won't be the same for everyone. While it's true that men and women experience bipolar disorder in similar ways, the effects of the condition may be different depending on hormones, brain chemicals and environmental factors. Men often exhibit symptoms of bipolar differently than women, so it helps to know what to look out for. With this in mind, what are the signs the man you're dating has bipolar, and what should you do if you spot them?
Signs of Bipolar Disorder in Men
Bipolar signs in men, outlined by the DSM-5, are the same as they are for women. However, the symptoms of bipolar disorder may present differently according to gender.
The most common signs of bipolar disorder in men include:
Cycles of mania and depression: Defined by a state of euphoria, fast speech, lots of different ideas or intense anger or irritability, mania affects people with bipolar I disorder. People with bipolar II disorder typically experience cycles of hypomania (less severe symptoms that never reach the full criteria for mania) and major depression.
High self-esteem: High self-esteem or extreme confidence often presents in mania. However, these symptoms can be conflated with expressing masculinity, so it can be difficult to differentiate this from "normal" behavior.
Denial anything is wrong: Some men struggle to admit that anything is wrong when they’re experiencing mental health issues, particularly if they exist in a society (as many still do) where they’re expected not to show emotion.
Poor decision-making and reckless behavior: Risk-taking behavior in men might include hyperactivity, sleeplessness, hypersexuality, abusing alcohol or drugs, excessive spending and other pleasure-seeking behaviors.
Suicidal thoughts/actions: Sadly, suicidal behavior is an attribute of bipolar depression, and it carries a higher risk for men than for women. For this reason, early identification of bipolar disorder in men is essential to intervene, treat, and prevent risk-taking behavior. If you're worried the man you're dating could be suicidal, you can seek support and advice from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
What to Do If Your Man Has Bipolar
If you suspect the man you’re dating has bipolar, it’s important to approach the subject sensitively. The last thing you want is for him to feel you're labeling him or criticizing him for something he can't control. What's more, although we're more accepting and understanding of mental illness as a society, a stigma around bipolar still exists for men, yet bipolar affects men slightly more than it affects women (2.9%, compared to 2.8%).
Try saying something like, "I've been finding out more about bipolar disorder, and it's more common than people think. I think you might have some of the symptoms. Do you want to know more?"
Ultimately, your partner's response to this information will impact how you respond. Although you can encourage him to see his doctor and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist, you can't force him to go. Explain that you don't think he's "crazy" – you just want him to be as happy and healthy as possible, and you feel like his symptoms are getting in the way of that.
Offer to support him by going to the doctor’s office with him or suggest couple's counseling if you suspect bipolar is ruining your relationship as bipolar in relationships can be quite difficult. However you react to signs the man you're dating has bipolar, do it without judgment, and always listen to his point of view.
Smith, E. (2019, June 19). Signs the Man You’re Dating Has Bipolar Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/relationships/signs-the-man-youre-dating-has-bipolar-disorder