Bipolar Disorder - Design For Recovery

When people use the phrase “high-functioning” when discussing mental illness, it is usually used to describe someone who seems to be functioning okay in the eyes of others. Most people who have high-functioning bipolar disorder may seem completely put together. Although these individuals may look alright from the outside, on the inside they are struggling. Many people with bipolar disorder have developed various habits to cope with their feelings in order to be able to function day-to-day. Those who have high-functioning bipolar disorder must exert an incredible amount of energy to continue managing their lives and responsibilities, while also dealing with the emotional ups and downs characterized by the illness. This blog will discuss what bipolar disorder is and what high-functioning bipolar disorder may look like.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is generally characterized by periods of mania. These periods consist of unusually high levels of energy followed by a period of depression. The intensity of these periods, however, differs depending on the type of bipolar disorder. The four types of bipolar disorder are:

Bipolar I

An individual will be diagnosed with bipolar I if they have at least one manic episode that lasts at least a week. People with this type of bipolar disorder also have episodes of major depression. The manic episodes that bipolar I is characterized by can become so severe that the individual has to be hospitalized.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II is characterized by a milder form of mania, hypomania. Hypomania lasts several days and is less intense than the episodes experienced in bipolar I. These episodes of elevated energy and highs are followed by periods of severe depression.

Bipolar Disorder (not otherwise specified)

This type of bipolar disorder causes individuals to experience symptoms of mania or hypomania that are too few in number or too short to be diagnosed as bipolar I or II.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Individuals with cyclothymic disorder experience hypomania followed by short periods of depression. This can develop into an acute type of bipolar disorder.

Signs of High-Functioning Bipolar Disorder

Simply put, the term “high-functioning”, when applied to bipolar disorder, indicates an individual can still pay their rent, go to work, and live their life without their mental illness having an obvious effect. Although the term “high-functioning” carries the idea that an individual is healthier than someone who is not high-functioning, this is not necessarily true. Those with high-functioning bipolar disorder create an appearance of normalcy even when their symptoms are at their most severe. Most of the time, those with high-functioning bipolar disorder are just good at masking their emotions and keeping them in check enough to appear okay on the surface. Many people with high-functioning bipolar disorder cope by hiding their illness and keeping it to themselves as long as possible. People with high-functioning bipolar disorder actually may experience more stress and anxiety due to the fact that they are always pretending to be unaffected by their mental illness.

Bipolar disorder can be exhibited in many different ways. Some symptoms can be triggered by certain situations, however, many people with bipolar disorder experience a cycle of symptoms that can arise without triggers. Some signs of a high-functioning bipolar individual are:

Manic symptoms

  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Irritability, euphoria, and/or aggressive
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased activity, including engagement in risk activities
  • Decreased need/inability to sleep

Depressive symptoms 

  • Feelings of guilt/worthlessness
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest and focus
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Lack of energy and exhaustion

There are also habits that those who are high-functioning may engage in to try to remain in control of their emotions and lives. Some of these habits include establishing a routine, keeping a diary to track medication, speaking up when they are struggling, practicing self-care, doing mood checks, spending time with loved ones, setting boundaries, and more. These habits allow for an individual’s bipolar disorder to feel more managed and in control, making it easier for them to function.

That being said, if an individual is putting extreme amounts of energy and effort to manage their bipolar disorder while still functioning regularly, they will most likely be very drained. If all of someone’s energy is being put towards appearing completely put together, it is likely they will not have much energy left to put towards actually taking care of themselves. Moreover, those with high-functioning bipolar disorder are at a greater risk than those that are not high-functioning. This is the case because these individuals are able to hide their illness and avoid treatment. If you are someone who has high-functioning bipolar disorder, it is important to be able to acknowledge when you need help and not to push yourself to a breaking point.

Acknowledging Your High-Functioning Bipolar Disorder at Design for Recovery

Take time to heal and focus on your mental wellbeing at Design for Recovery. Design for Recovery is a sober living home for men located in West Los Angeles. Design for Recovery offers a structured, safe environment to become more secure in your sobriety and mental health. Residents work hard daily to develop new skills, values, and coping mechanisms for approaching life in early recovery. During this process, residents develop close friendships with their peers and become connected with the Los Angeles recovery community. At Design for Recovery, we believe that addiction recovery involves more than just physically abstaining from substances — it involves building a new way of life.

Leave a Comment

Check Out More Posts or View All

Join Our Sober Living Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for news, events, and the best sober living tips.

Sober Living in Los Angeles - Design for Recovery

About Us

Design for Recovery empowers men struggling with addiction by providing 24/7 support, mentorship, and teaches them how to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Chat with us on Facebook

Recent Posts

955 Posts

Sober Living Homes in Los Angeles for Men

Design For Recovery - Sober living homes for men in Los Angeles, CA. Contact us today. We want to know your story and welcome you home.

Getting sober is realizing how much stronger you are mentally AND physically. No more FML mornings, now it's replaced with knowing your purpose and living it every. single. day. Wake up with energy to take on challenges with renewed clarity, focus, determination, and superhuman strength. Living my truth like nothing else matters? Hands down, I'll take that over a hangover any day.

Get in with our sober community of guys supporting each others' hustle and keeping each other accountable. Check out one of our sober living homes for men in Los Angeles. (Link in bio)
What's better than having a grill master in the house? Having 10 of them! Any night of the week you may catch us grillin' and chillin'. We might qualify as the world's worst vegans, but we're a house full of guys! What do you expect? Get your grill on with us at one of our BBQ cookouts at Design for Recovery sober living homes for men in Los Angeles, CA. (Link in bio)
Learning to make on omelette is hard. Learning to make an omelette with all your closest friends is... still hard, but with a lot more laughs! Come break a few eggs with us at Design for Recovery sober living homes for men - where we regularly enjoy cooking meals together. (Impromptu dance battles not required but encouraged) Get in touch with us today! (Link in bio)
While living in a sober home, we continue to grow and learn - each day becoming a little better versions of ourselves than we were yesterday. The men living here become like brothers and many go on to become lifelong friends who continue to support each other for years to come. Experience this exceptional bond at Design for Recovery sober living homes for men in Los Angeles, CA. Check us out! (link in bio)
When it comes to staying sober, why go it alone? We've got a great community of guys here at our sober living homes in Los Angeles. We've got your back - day and night. Definitely worth checking us out! (Link in bio)
Never underestimate the difference you can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. Reach out to someone that might need a lift. 

👉 Reach out to us today to learn more about our sober livings or schedule a tour at : 
📞 +14243274614
#designforrecovery #community #supporting #groupsupport #helping #soberlife #sober #soberhomes #change #sobriety #recovery #soberliving #soberaf #addiction #alcoholfree #sobermovement #recoveryispossible #wedorecover #addictionrecovery #alcoholicsanonymous #onedayatatime #soberlifestyle #sobrietyrocks #sobercurious #sobernation #mentalhealth #cleanandsober #alcoholfreelife
Recovery takes time to heal the heart, strengthen your confidence and find trust in yourself. At the end of your life it will be what you make of it and you get to write the chapters. 

👉 Reach out to us today to learn more about our sober livings or schedule a tour at : 
📞 +14243274614
#designforrecovery #community #supporting #groupsupport #helping #soberlife #sober #soberhomes #change #sobriety #recovery #soberliving #soberaf #addiction #alcoholfree #sobermovement #recoveryispossible #wedorecover #addictionrecovery #alcoholicsanonymous #onedayatatime #soberlifestyle #sobrietyrocks #sobercurious #sobernation #mentalhealth #cleanandsober #alcoholfreelife

Reach out to us today.

Design For Recovery is committed to helping you or your loved one live a fulfilling life free from alcohol and drug addiction. Below you can find out what to expect when you contact us for help.

Call us at (424) 327-4614 or fill out the form below and we will be in touch with you soon.

Send us a message below and we will reach out to you.