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How to Tell if Your Spouse has Bipolar Disorder

Nov 21, 2022 | Adult Treatment, Bipolar, Blog, Communication, Helping a Loved One, Relationship Issues

If you’ve noticed odd and sometimes extreme behavior from your spouse, you might wonder if they have bipolar disorder. Everyone experiences strong emotions at times. But bipolar is something more and goes beyond mood swings. It’s a serious mental health condition. Knowing more about the phases and types can help you tell if your spouse may have bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder – Mood Phases and Types

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder with two phases, mania and depression. Each phase has distinct symptoms. Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and cyclothymia are the three main types of bipolar disorder. Each type is defined by the intensity of a person’s symptoms.

Bipolar I disorder is the most severe and leads to the most destructive behaviors. These may include self-harm, poor money management, and reckless behavior. Bipolar II has similar but less extreme symptoms, and cyclothymia is the mildest version.

If you notice three or more symptoms in one of the mood categories nearly every day, you may have reason for concern.

Manic Phase

These symptoms in the manic phase reflect an overstimulated mind and body. It’s like a car engine that’s running too fast. It will churn and grind for a while until it runs out of fuel or just stops working.


Your spouse doesn’t sleep much anymore. It’s not insomnia, though. They seem to stay up late and get up early. They don’t seem to get tired, and when they do, it’s not for long.

Inflated sense of importance or ability

You’re proud of your spouse’s skills and accomplishments. They seem to be bragging about themselves for things that seem a little too good to be true. They are the best, the smartest, and the most important person they know.

Unusually outgoing behavior

Your spouse enjoys talking with people, but now it’s a little much. They can’t let a person go by without trying to have a conversation. They socialize more than even your most extroverted friend.

Irritable mood or anger

And just like that, your spouse can flip from being energetic and outgoing to biting someone’s head off. It seems like their anger can flash quickly, sometimes without warning.

Talking too fast, racing thoughts

Sometimes when your spouse starts talking, you can’t understand what they’re saying. It’s like they’re trying to push the words out of their mouth. It happens so quickly you can’t always catch every word.


It’s nice to be spontaneous sometimes, but random impulsive decisions are becoming more common. The random road trips, sudden days off work, and impulsive purchases worry you.

Destructive or reckless behavior

You’ve noticed your spouse doing crazy things like all-night drinking binges and driving too fast. You know these behaviors are dangerous, but you’re not sure your spouse believes you.

Depressive Phase

The depression phase is the polar opposite of mania. Everything seems difficult and is colored by negativity.

Hopelessness, low mood nearly every day

Your spouse is more down and hopeless than you’ve ever seen them. Nothing seems right anymore. In their eyes, life is sad and miserable.

Loss of interest or pleasure

Your spouse has no interest in their favorite TV shows or their hobbies. Even their best friend can’t get them interested in going out. It seems like they just don’t care about much anymore, and nothing sounds fun.

Sleep problems
  • Too much sleep – Your spouse sleeps almost longer than they’re awake. They’ll easily sleep ten or twelve hours a night, and sometimes with a daytime nap.
  • Insomnia – No matter how tired your spouse is, they can’t get much sleep. The exhaustion is obvious, but sleep rarely comes.
Low energy

It seems like even the smallest tasks are tiring. Your spouse moves like a sloth and seems to take forever with anything they do. They look tired matter how much sleep they get.

Appetite changes
  • Mindless Overeating – It seems like your spouse always has food in their hands. They eat regular meals with everyone and seem to snack at all hours of the day.
  • Loss of appetite – You’ve noticed that your spouse’s clothes are fitting more loosely. They seem uninterested in eating or just never feel like it. Their hunger has all but disappeared.
Unable to think clearly

Your spouse says they have a foggy brain, like they just can’t keep a clear thought in their head. It’s hard to focus and stay on task, and their memory isn’t what it used to be.

Negative thoughts

Everything in your spouse’s life has a sour taste to it. It’s all negative all the time. They rarely have something positive to say about their life.

Thoughts of self-harm, suicidal behavior

You heard your spouse mention that everyone might be better off without them. You weren’t sure if they were serious, but now you wonder. What if your spouse tried to hurt themselves?

Understanding bipolar disorder and moving forward

Bipolar disorder can be challenging to live with, and it’s even harder without proper treatment. By understanding more about bipolar symptoms, you can take the first steps towards getting them the help they may need.

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.