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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Henrietta Ross

There is a symptom of Bipolar Disorder or specifically a symptom sometimes synonymous with Mania that many suffer from, a challenging, difficult and perhaps embarrassing symptom that often does not get the recognition or attention it deserves. Sometimes we ourselves may be reluctant to speak about it for a variety of reasons, perhaps because of our religious beliefs, our values and principles or simply because it is so frightfully awkward to talk about or alternatively sometimes it is the professionals who shy away from the subject, perhaps uncomfortable themselves for a variety of reasons in opening up intimate discussions about such matters. Though regardless of one’s perception, this symptom is not going to disappear, it is not going to flutter away conveniently so as to hide ones blushes, it is not going to be forced into submission due to ones ingrained beliefs or values and it certainly is not going to remove itself because ones Psychiatrist is facing an area that makes them cringe, an area that will result in the patient informing them of their deepest desires and fantasies, their overwhelming sexual appetites and the resultant insatiable lust filled escapades that they may have participated in. This symptom exists, it does need discussing and it certainly needs bringing out into the open, if only to raise awareness and allow more research into this area to be completed, which at the moment is fundamentally lacking. What am I talking about? Hypersexuality!

Hypersexuality is the increased need and often pressure for sexual gratification that can arrive with an episode of Mania. Due to this overwhelming desire for sex and the decreased inhibitions that accompany mania, often one will seek out sexual relationships or experiences with other people, sometimes to an excessive degree. It is not uncommon for instance, for happily married individuals to suddenly have affairs, affairs that may come as a complete shock to their partners or for once conservative individuals to suddenly begin having one night stands or random sexual encounters with strangers. One can suddenly find themselves attracted to people who they normally wouldn't associate with or becoming obsessed with the idea of 'forbidden sex'.

Now not everyone who suffers from Bipolar Disorder will suffer with Hypersexuality but I think I would be right in saying that many do. It is a serious issue and a challenging one, for the consequences of hypersexuality, which are not always understood at the time due to the lack of inhibitions accompanying Mania and a lack of awareness with regards to the consequences of ones actions, can result in marriage and relationship difficulties, the breakdown of precious relationships, family problems and not to forget the host of Sexually Transmitted Diseases one can contract and the resultant problems these may pose.

So I suppose the question is do I suffer from Hypersexuality and the answer is a resounding yes! Though I have to say, after my many years of dealing with Bipolar Disorder, I think I can safely say I am more in control of this often problematic symptom these days and I work very hard to channel it, though it isn't always easy.

During my years when I was undiagnosed it was a very different story. I am a naturally quiet, thoughtful person who lives inside her head most of the time, but upon the arrival of a bout of Mania all that changes, which in some ways is a good thing, as people around me can always tell when I am becoming high as there is a marked difference immediately from my usual introverted personality. On top of the euphoria, the energy, feelings of self-importance and the mad ideas that I may have, I also start to begin flirting outrageously with one and all, so assured am I that I am the most beautiful and desirable girl in the world who no one can resist.

My body or should I say certain parts of it, are on fire, the eternal and tormenting ache that nothing and no one can relieve. It's incredibly intense, raw and overwhelming mentally and physically, not just a psychological desire for sex but a bodily desire that leaves each part of your body in a permanent, tortured state of arousal and the only thing one wants; to find someone, anyone even, to relieve the agony. Though sex often doesn't satisfy as it may have once did, nothing serving to satisfy and quell ones eternal desire - so one moves on to the next and the next and the next.

I spent many years acting on these impulses, going out purposefully looking for sexual encounters, going to Pubs and Clubs specifically looking for sex and as is the nature of Mania with the inflated self-importance, stratospheric confidence and my own seemingly magnetic seductive techniques, I rarely left empty handed. At other times I met people in more diverse and random situations, situations that were perhaps even more dangerous but my inhibitions knowing nothing of fear or the concept of safety, led me to act on my sexual compulsions, happily involving myself in these random encounters, the only thing mattering; to satisfy my enormous and plainly out of control sex desire.

Eventually, after many a failed relationship and the mental anguish that ensued, the guilt ridden Terminations resulting from my behaviour and the general pain and heartbreak caused to all, I realized that something had to change. Having the correct diagnosis and beginning to understand more about Hypersexuality, led me to realize that I somehow had to become the one in control, that I had to tame the beast in effect and in doing so, learn to channel the sexual energy in a more appropriate manner.

It is not easy and I don't believe it ever will be - I still have days when I crave sex to such a degree that I find it hard to manage and cope with and concentrating on anything else becomes besides sex becomes unbearable. Though for me it has become about all about damage limitation in effect.

I have over the years become more and more familiar with my moods, knowing for instance when I am becoming depressed and what behaviour to look out for and similarly I know when I am becoming Hypomanic and begin to feel Hypersexual. One of the things that I believe in wholeheartedly is the ability to relieve oneself, self-masturbation for me is imperative when feeling Hypersexual and indeed relieving myself as many times as is required, thus purposefully striving to limit the chance of any risky sexual encounters taking place. I also have become able to rein my mood in, even when experiencing a hypersexual episode through a combination of mindfulness, meditation, finding activities that require deep concentration and a need for me to be methodical such as arranging my extensive Book collection or my Music collection or indeed writing, which is perhaps one of my most treasured pastimes (aside from reading of course), and for me is one of my most greatest and frequently used channels. I also additionally to my normal writing, find it really helpful to write down how I am feeling sexually and perhaps what I am desiring moment by moment when craving sex, it doesn't matter how rude my ramblings may be, how perverse, erotic or different, what matters is getting all my thoughts and fantasies down on paper, which for me acts as a wonderful release but also gives me something to read back to myself, once again trying to satisfy the overwhelming craving for sex. Additionally, Erotic fiction can be very useful and I have certainly benefited myself from a few well-chosen Books. Ultimately I think we all have to be proactive and find an alternative that works for us.

It's not always easy and there are times when I feel that I am losing control, times when I feel that I might lose the battle but it is at these times when we are feeling that control is sliding from our grasp but still have a degree of insight into our behaviour, that we need to ask for help, from our families, from our Professionals. The alternative of leaving it and hoping we can somehow muster through without any repercussions is naïve and the consequences are far too great.

I think essentially we have to try and in doing so, perhaps we can learn to tame the beast!


Oh my goodness.....I have never read a more perfect description of how I feel when I'm in a manic state. It's almost as if I was reading about myself. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one dealing withhypersexuality. I do a lot of writing as well, but I have yet to find a good way to ease the ache that you describe so incredibly accurately.

Omg its hard for me yet this all new to me an my were im still learning to controle impulse of my symptom its hard espicially wen i have no support system with my family through its hard

I thought this was a great piece of writing as well. From my experience - the PHYSICAL constant state of AROUSAL is the key to understanding. Somehow - a very strange "symptom" of bipolar is rather like just "being on viagra. (I would imagine). The main thing is that my BODY is aroused. I find this has nothing to do with actual emotional states. It really, at its core - is physical. And like the blogger said - this "desire" - yes so shameful - even to ourselves, perhaps. I believe THIS is the key to managing it. I am not hypersexual - my BODY is. Personally, I am not willing to engage in varied sexual activities of any sort - solely to relieve this constant PHYSICAL arousal. As the blogger hinted at - it is almost impossible to relieve. It is not about sexuality. It is not about emotional attachment, or desire. It is PURELY physical. I find this knowledge very interesting. I find it VERY difficult to understand just HOW this could possibly even be tied to my MOOD-state. And, quite honestly - I do NOT think it is.

This helps somewhat. My husband is bipolar and I'm guessing hypersexual. He's online cheating 24/7. He says it's like fighting ur darkest demon. He is fighting day to day to control. His words, not mine. I'm hurt, sad and miserable. Being on the other side is so hard. He's on medication but I guess it's either not strong enough or not the right one. He's been doing it for months. I adore him and don't want to lose him but at what point does a wife just say enough. Ugh. I just don't want to throw away our relationship over a disease and something he can't control. He's totally out of control with it. It's so bad....

i totally understand what u r going thru right now! my husband also has bipolar with hypersexuality and i just recently found out this was even a thing! honestly i first thought it was just an excuse for him cheating but now im not so sure! im so confused as to leave him or stay...i feel like i have to leave bc i cant keep doing this but i also feel like im not ready to give up on him....

It is hard. Hypersexuality is a major part of my life too, both in and out of mania. Can I encourage you to talk to you husband openly and encourage him to do the same. A beast drawn out into the light is half beat already. What you have between you is stronger than any other 'distraction'. I find it is at the most desperate times that if I don't have a security and safety plan, I will fail. It is important for you both to prepare safeguards which he can fall back on and have success to get him though weak spots. This might be both of you writing 20 things about why you love each other and sticking it at the computer. Then, when seen, it has to become a deliberate choice to act. With perseverance and love I think this might help. I hope it does.

My ex wife put up with a lot of my manic episodes. Talk and talk to him over and over again about it until you can both fight it.

My ex wife put up with a lot of my manic episodes. Talk and talk to him over and over again about it until you can both fight it.

Maybe, if you want to understand this hypersexuality your husband is experiencing - is to realize it is a lot like being on a drug - maybe like viagra - where the BODY is sexually aroused - for extended periods. It is very difficult to ignore. It is nothing your husband can even control, and it is not at all even your husband's CHOICE. His behavior is his choice - but maybe understanding that he is just trying to find some RELIEF - RELEASE - from this constant state of arousal, will help. It is not emotional. It is not that he wants to betray you, even. He is just desperately looking for relief. I think and believe there are better ways he could cope. But I am pretty sure that is what is happening with him?

Thank you for this. My girlfriend has bipolar and I learnt recently that she had had a lot more partners than I thought. I know that she's been no angel but didn't quite realise the extent till a few days ago and was really having a tough time coming to terms with it (especially when it came to some of her choices) but this has definitely helped me understand the thought process and emotions behind it all and I feel a bit better knowing that it was kind if out of her control.

This describes me to a T

I identified with this so much. And have had a few times during 'highs' being almost out of control with desire. Then the pain is the regrets when you go on a down with depression and guilt. Thank you for writing this

Thank you... I have had o many failed relationships because I miss this way. HVe been on and off for years. With time and lots if searching I've seen this pattern in myself and wish it would help me with the situation I find myself in with someone I've loved for years whom I have hurt so badly he pretty much hates me. Although 15 years later he still calls when he wants sex which really messes up my head that much more. For years I couldn't explain why I was doing these things and over and over I kept doing them causing hurt for us both. I convinced myself I must joy love anyone because if I did I wouldn't do these things to them. But I know I love him... I do but how do u explain this to someone without making it look like u r making excuses for your behavior. I've even allowed him to basically treat me like dirt for the past 2+ years feeling like I deserved it for my wrong doings which only led to more hurt. How do I make it stop and move on I don't want to let go

I understand i to am going through the same sitution with a love one were one min we could happy the next were at each other were things are said that i dont mean are do this is all something new to me but i realized how much lost cause of this illness an hurt good people along the way cause of it an scares me i dont like the way i fell it like its hard to exsplain to someone who doesnt know wats goes on an yhour head at time were u dont mean it but your love a person but your mind make u feel this person is against u an it put u an defence were u forced to do things u ahve no nature i hate this curse there day wen i just want to be normal anjust be haappy but i cant espically wen a person downs u an say nothing positive to support your feelings

My husband has fought for years with the demons of my cheating on him not realizing that it was due to my being bipolar. Now that he knows maybe he can move on from it.At the time of these brief encounters even I didn't realize only in the last 10 out of 30 years with this affliction have I been able to control it, for the most part,. On occasion I've dabbled in sexting with strangers, I thought that was less risky. Now it's masturbation and scheduled sex with my husband. I was only really able to get a handle on it after being raped by someone I knew, that though he had a right cause I was open about my affairs and that he planned on returning time after time thinking I wouldn't tell my husband. My risky sexual behavior did not deserve that kind of betrayal, but it was a wake up call.

for years i have used sex as an escape from my head n whatever i thought i was going through. i was diagnosed bio polar almost 3 years ago. i knew i was different. i knew i had this insane high energy n i have always been able to captivate both men n women. i have never been able to be fully committed to anyone. I love the feeling of exciting others n men are my targets sexually. Its almost a sick cat n mouse game with me. over the last two years i have been on lamictal n it has helped me control my impulses greatly. however, one week i had to go out of town n i forgot my meds n within 5 days i found my self at a club. i literally scanned the room n the man that seemed to be the most challenging was my target. i literally walked up to him while a female he knew was still talking to him n whispered in his ear..."if, your a clever man u we find me in the club before the lights come on an u can be my bitch for a few hours." insane i know but he did find me and i led him out...n went to his place n once done left n never seen him again. i had no remorse at all...still dont but i never allow my self to miss my dose-it truly makes a difference. the sad part is I want to be normal. i want to only crave my partner...but the moments do happen. much less now since i have been on the meds. but i do scare my self at times.

its hard at times dealing with this problem its kinda of a curse u neva know how u gonna feel certain days i had lots of relationships where i could be happy an the next sad were i felt i wanted to move on but my current relationship is no good especially wen the person does not understand your condition an look for to make u feel low at times an all result into pyhsical violance wich not cool on both parts of the relationship not healthy its hard for me to love some one cause of my feeling were at times my mind tells me one thing wich my heart feel another an things get hard to control like its things the person i ben an a relationship with for the past 3+ years with didnt deserve the things i did are say wich some things i dont remember are mean cause this person does not know how seriose this symptom is it hard for me to love a person wen my feeling is one way i know my wrong doing is pain full but how do i better my self to have a better relationship this is all new to me an its hard i just found out about i have this condition 3 months ago through out the years i psuhed good people away that i felt were bad for me but were really good even my kids but how do i better my self as a human an a parent who has this....

It's nice to read this because I have never been able to name it or pinpoint it until my therapist recently brought up the idea of being bi polar. An issue in my last relationship, I believe was one that wasn't spoken about was the fact that I had a strong craving and desire for sex. My partner, she of course enjoyed it but didn't require it as often as me. It was what I now can name moments of hypomania and it makes everything make sense now as look back

This is the hardest thing to explain about bipolar to anyone without feeling total shame & embarrassment. I was only diagnosed a couple of years ago after being treated for depression for a decade. It became apparent when I made a series of risky and somewhat dangerous choices to satisfy my needs. This crushed my marriage but at the time I was oblivious to the consequences of my behaviour. This is when alarm bells rang with my doctors and the diagnosis process started. Having looked back the last 10years so many 'manic' episodes would easily have been recognised if I knew the symptoms. I feel shame, guilt and a fear that these risky partners could somehow return to my life knowing where I live/work (you don't realise telling people this at the time was a bad idea!) I'm currently feeling balanced and in a loving relationship and thankfully with help of these brave articles more aware of signs to flag up.

For years I wondered why? I'm bipolar and just thought I was bored. But after reading this. I have got to say you are so right.
And it was so easy to pick up guys. I mean in a manic phase you give off an energy... It's like a high like no other. I have yet to let that part of me go. Cause it's a high.
I think that's the thing I fear most about getting help is not having those highs. I can't imagine how normal people feel. And in a way I don't want to know.
Anyway thank you for letting me know I'm not alone.

This is perfectly described . This is almost my story ! My last manic episode destroyed everything I held dear in my life my marriage my family life my livelihood . It's an unexplained sexual hunger sex with strangers is never a great idea but at the time seems exciting and dangerous . Consequences are not even thought about unwanted pregnancies STDs and broken relationships don't even come into it in the moment . This is possibly the most destructive symptom of bipolar .

I have just read my own description! For 20 years I have had depression and also a host of other symptoms but this is by far the worst - I spent so long thinking I must be an awful person to cheat on my husband and not been able to explain why. I get overpowered by the need and want. Lost count of how many men I've been with. My GP has just referred me to Psyc for possible Bi-Polar disorder.

Last year I dated someone I suspected of having bipolar disorder. We broke up because of some other issues, but I later suspected her of having that problem. We had sex every night. At first I didn't see it as a problem; I hadn't had a partner in 5 years, and she was in a similar situation. She never cheated on me or sought sex elsewhere, only that I later thought it was a bit over the top. Well maybe it wasn't. I don't really know.

The above descriptions are similar to me wish I could get back to normal my family hate me its killing me being away from my kids.

This is a very good description of Hypersexuality. I would like to add a few

comments to the description. First of all Hypersexuality is a symptom of an illness. Please do not blame yourself for your illness or it’s symptoms. Symptoms of any illness are difficult to impossible to control. This is not demons we are fighting. It is an illness. There will be a lot of people who judge you because of your illness Please don’t be one of thosepp people. To move toward recovery and wellness you have to separate yourself from your illness. People blame us for these symptoms in many ways. They call it impulsive behavior, say we desire this behavior, say we are promiscuous, and call us derogatory names. Hypersexuality creates a need for sexual contact. When a person is Hypersexuality everything the person hears, smells, touched, tastes or seed reminds them of sex. I always felt “empty” inside when I was Hypersexual. Like I was dead. Sexual contact lowered this feeling of emptiness and death. If you have a therapist that judges for this behavior, find another therapist that doesn’t and that will speed you toward recovery. Also find supportive family members and friends that will support you and not condemn you for symptoms of your illness. We are not sinners that are purposely seeking gratification. We are fighting an illness that can kill us. Keep up the fight. Love you all.

My husband and I have been together for 20 years and I believe wholeheartedly that he suffers from this and I don't know how to help him because he travels for work so I rarely see him and he doesn't have time to go get help.  Before we ever started going out I fell in love with his zest for life but noticed how he could go without barely any sleep and was always a people pleaser I just assumed it was his personality but his temper tantrums have only greatly increased over the years.  He has cheated but I only know of 5 which 3 he only resently admitted to that happened 15-20 years ago but at the same time he admits he claims all of these women just threw themselves on him, including my best friend 15 years ago saying she only attempted oral was begging for sex but he wouldn't I find that hard to believe.  Anyway, this came to light when I started suffering from PTSD  and everything started crumbling around me as I was trying so hard to raise our two children alone and he was always gone for weeks at a time, a certified registered letter came that only he could get.   I found it hidden in his truck the day I told him to get it and je pretended to ignore me, it was a DNA letter from a nasty ugly ex from when I was pregnant with our son.  He just blew it off said the kid wasn't his, so I started to investigate and found he was talking to her on the phone (because he traveled) before, during, and after conversations with me for 4 months before this letter came.  Then I found Craigslist personals every place he traveled to multiple times a day some days, he claims never to have contacted anyone ever, even during his drinking binges.  I have tried so hard to be supportive he even admits he had a problem but refuses to talk about everything without throwing a fit so I drop it.  My gut tells me there is a lot more to know that I never will but if he can't be honest how can I know when he is going into a manic episode, in one, or coming out.  He expects me to drop everything every time he wants attention I try but when I don't he gets angry.  How can I help him, how can I get him to be honest I have tried to be supportive telling him I will stand by him we both will be hurt but the truth needs to be out in order to know the signs and help?  Please help me, I know he doesn't want to do this says  it will never happen again but if he couldn't stop himself before and he completely 'forgot' about me or while my name was being said he can't honestly say it won't.  I am heartbroken and I know I cannot trust him, I know his impulsivity over powers self contol when the bipolar kicks in and he becomes self righteous and arrogant.  I question my own sanity and existence,  I feel lost and empty I just want to help him without his anger getting in the way and him trying to manipulate me. I know it is not always his fault.

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