Rapid changes in one’s mood are generally called mood swings. They pertain to disproportionate or sudden fluctuations in one’s frame of mind. General mood swings may involve sudden shifts in moods ranging from euphoria or elation to severe sadness or sorrow, and then back to the heightened mood state again. But things get tricky when it comes to identifying the difference between the mood swings in general and those that involve some major psychiatric illnesses, particularly bipolar disorder.

amna nawaz1Amna Nawaz currently works as a clinical psychologist at Willing Ways, Lahore. She has done MS in clinical psychology and B.Sc (Hons.) from GC University, Lahore. Heath counseling, addiction counseling, subjective well-being and intellectual disability are her areas of interest as well as her educational expertise.Earlier, she has also supervised trainee child psychologists working in a special education institute being run by the Government of Punjab.

Editor: Shumaila Batool

The situation would have been much clearer if there was some blood test or a brain scan to determine the existence of bipolar disorder. But it is not the case so far. What the mental health professionals do have is a range of symptoms based on a wide scale. The only difficulty occurs in pointing out the brink between normal or healthy functioning and the presence of psychopathology.

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Every human being is different from another. Same is true for their personalities. All the individuals are unique in terms of their thoughts, temperaments and behaviors. Even identical twins do not share the same characteristics of mind.

If it is seen on the bell curve of human experience, then it is evident that there are people who are positioned far outside the middle range in terms of how they think, feel and behave. It is great if the uniqueness of their thoughts, feeling and behaviors actually works for them, for there is nothing better than falling in the middle or a balanced state. But the problem arises when such uniqueness is subjected to sudden shifts in moods and behavioral patterns that lack any evident reason or cause, and also are not related to the individuals’ sense of choice. Additionally, such uniqueness also gives persistent uninvited and excruciating difficulties. It does not become a matter of choice to be unique and distinctive for such individuals.

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