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Last Updated on June 26, 2023


Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood, energy, and behavior changes from mania to depression. Bipolar disorder affects over 10 million people in the United States, or about 2.8% of the population, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Bipolar disorder can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life, but the severity varies from person to person. Rage or anger is an overlooked symptom of bipolar disorder, but it frequently coexists with both depressive and manic moods. Not everyone will experience these intense emotional states, but it makes navigating this mental health condition even more difficult for those who do.

Continue reading to know more about an unrecognized symptom of bipolar disorder: rage, and answers to questions such as, “Why do people with bipolar disorder say hurtful things?” “What not to say to somebody with bipolar disorder?” and what measures can help control symptoms of bipolar disorder?

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Bipolar Disorder: Anger & Rage

While individuals with bipolar disorder can experience anger and rage, they are not inherent symptoms of the disorder itself. However, during certain mood episodes, such as manic or mixed episodes, individuals experience increased irritability, agitation, or explosive anger.

During a manic episode characterized by elevated mood, increased energy, and impulsivity, individuals with bipolar disorder may have difficulty controlling their anger and may exhibit irritability or rage. They may have a shorter temper, become easily frustrated, and experience a heightened sense of irritability or annoyance. These intense emotions can lead to outbursts of anger or rage that are disproportionate to the situation.

Why Do People With Bipolar Disorder Say Hurtful Things?

Due to the nature of the disorder and its impact on their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, people with bipolar disorder may say hurtful things at times. Individuals with bipolar disorder may have a heightened sense of self-confidence and a reduced filter in their speech during manic episodes. This can cause them to speak harshly and say things they may not mean or fully consider the implications of. Their quick thoughts and increased energy may also contribute to a lack of inhibition and poor communication judgment.

On the other hand, people with bipolar disorder may experience overwhelming negative emotions, sadness, and despair during depressive episodes. These emotions have the potential to cause agitation, frustration, and general unhappiness. In order to deal with their emotional pain or to express their internal struggles, they may unintentionally lash out or say hurtful things.

How Does Bipolar Disorder Rage Affect One’s Health?

An unrecognized symptom of bipolar disorder: rage can have various impacts on a person’s health, both physically and mentally. Here are some ways in which bipolar disorder anger can affect health:

  1. Increased Stress Levels:

    Frequent or intense anger episodes can lead to high levels of stress. Prolonged stress can negatively impact physical health, including the cardiovascular system, immune system, and overall well-being.

  2. Relationship Strain:

    Anger outbursts can strain relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. This can lead to social isolation, feelings of loneliness, and a reduced support network, which can negatively impact mental health.

  3. Worsening of Bipolar Symptoms:

    Heightened anger and irritability can exacerbate bipolar symptoms. Anger may trigger or contribute to manic or depressive episodes, intensifying mood swings and making it challenging to manage the disorder effectively.

  4. Impaired Judgment and Decision-Making:

    During episodes of anger or rage, individuals with bipolar disorder may have difficulty thinking clearly and making rational decisions. This can lead to impulsive behavior, poor judgment, and regrettable actions that may have consequences for physical and mental health.

  5. Physical Health Effects:

    Chronic anger and stress can have adverse effects on physical health, such as increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate, headaches, digestive problems, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping. Over time, these physical health issues can contribute to a range of medical conditions.

What Not To Say To Somebody With Bipolar Disorder?

Interacting with someone who has bipolar disorder requires a sensitive and compassionate approach. It is important to choose our words carefully, avoiding statements that may invalidate our experiences or perpetuate stigmatizing beliefs. By fostering understanding and providing support towards an unrecognized symptom of bipolar disorder: rage, we can contribute to a healthier and more empathetic environment for individuals with bipolar disorder.

  1. Avoid minimizing or dismissing their experiences:

    Avoid belittling or downplaying their emotions. Refrain from phrases like “You’re just being dramatic” or “Snap out of it.” Such statements undermine the validity of their struggles and fail to acknowledge the complexities of bipolar disorder. Instead, offer empathy, patience, and a listening ear to show that you recognize the challenges they face.

  2. Avoid using language that stigmatizes people:

    Using terms like “crazy” or “insane” can be very damaging and reinforce negative stereotypes. It is essential to use respectful language that avoids passing judgment.

  3. Avoid attributing their struggles to personal character flaws:

    Bipolar disorder affects various aspects of a person’s life, including their energy levels, motivation, and ability to function. Recognize that they are dealing with genuine challenges and offer support rather than blame.

  4. Refrain from suggesting unproven treatments:

    While well-intentioned, offering unsolicited advice about alternative or unverified remedies can be counterproductive. Individuals with bipolar disorder benefit most from evidence-based medical interventions and treatment plans developed by healthcare professionals.

  5. Avoid claiming to know exactly how they feel:

    Empathy is essential when interacting with someone with bipolar disorder, but it is important to acknowledge that each person’s experience is unique. It is best to avoid assuming that you understand their struggles completely. Instead, listen attentively, validate their emotions, and be supportive without assuming their exact experience.

How to Manage Bipolar Disorder Anger Or Rage?

Managing an unrecognized symptom of bipolar disorder: rage requires a multifaceted approach that incorporates self-care, therapy, medication management, and support from healthcare professionals. Here are certain strategies that can help:

  1. Understand triggers and warning signs:

    Pay attention to the situations, thoughts, or events that tend to trigger your anger or rage. Recognize the warning signs that indicate an escalation in emotions. This self-awareness can help you take proactive steps to manage and prevent anger episodes.

  2. Develop coping mechanisms:

    Explore healthy coping mechanisms to channel and diffuse anger. Engaging in activities that will promote relaxation, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. Physical exercises, such as jogging or dancing, can also help release tension and improve mood.

  3. Seek therapy and support:

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can be effective in managing anger and regulating emotions. These therapies help individuals develop skills for emotion regulation, stress management, and effective communication. Support groups or individual counseling can also provide a safe space to discuss and process emotions.

  4. Medication management:

    Work closely with a psychiatrist to find the right medication regimen for managing bipolar disorder and its associated symptoms. Medications such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, or antidepressants may be prescribed to help stabilize mood and reduce anger or rage episodes. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and communicate any changes in symptoms to your healthcare provider.

  5. Practice self-care:

    One must prioritize self-care activities that promote mental and emotional well-being. Engage in hobbies, spend time with loved ones, and take breaks when needed. Ensuring you have time for relaxation and self-reflection can help reduce stress and manage anger more effectively.

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An unrecognized symptom of bipolar disorder: rage, can have serious consequences in relationships. During manic or mixed episodes, people with bipolar disorder may experience intense anger or rage. This can lead to them saying hurtful things they don’t mean. It is important to understand that these hurtful statements are frequently the result of the disorder’s emotional dysregulation and altered perception, rather than a true reflection of their feelings toward others.

It is essential to avoid responding defensively to hurtful remarks made by someone with bipolar disorder. Instead, show empathy, maintain open communication, and concentrate on their overall well-being. Learning about bipolar disorder and practicing patience and understanding can go a long way toward fostering healthier interactions and maintaining stronger relationships.

Dr. Anusia Thourani

Dr. Anusia is a Dentist and currently working as a Recruitment Associate at Revive Research Institute. Her cheerful personality and enthusiasm for her work in this organization make her a great part of our team.

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