Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder At Work

Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder At Work

Throughout our daily lives, many stressors and factors have the potential to impact our mental health.

One particular stressor that we all have to deal with is our work environment.

Whether it is a remote job or one in the office, we can all agree that our professional lives are not always easy to handle.

That is why it is especially important for you to consult with a doctor or other medical professional if you are experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder at work.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of bipolar disorder at work:

Behaving in Ways that are Unusually Energetic or Upbeat

If you are experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder at work, one of the most common that people tend to observe is energetic behavior.

These energetic behaviors can manifest in a variety of ways, whether it is attending to tasks on the job more quickly than usual, or taking on too much at once.

More often than not, individuals with bipolar disorder will exhibit symptoms of what is known as "euphoria," which is when they feel an elated sense of self-worth or a drastic increase in self-confidence.

So if you encounter someone who has bipolar disorder at work, that person will likely seem much more talkative or animated than usual.

Another way that you can detect the presence of bipolar disorder at work is by asking yourself if you are experiencing any symptoms of racing thoughts.

Only you can know if your thoughts are racing or not, but typically, these thoughts will manifest through spoken words or actions, in that they will be abnormally fast-paced or upbeat.

Those with bipolar disorder at work will be very easily distracted, and their attention may waver depending on the task that is presented to him or her.

In addition, individuals who experience symptoms of bipolar disorder at work will behave in ways that can seem quite impulsive to others.

They might say or do things that seem out of character or engage in activities on the job that are inappropriate for the workplace.

Another term for elevated mood is "mania" or periods of "hypomania," which are essentially less severe versions of mania.

Socially Disengaging or Shutting Down

It's one thing if you are feeling occasionally sad or down about a challenging situation in your life.

But if you find yourself feeling consistently dejected or severely depressed for no reason, then this is a potential symptom of experiencing bipolar disorder at work — especially if your moods tend to fluctuate from being manic to depressive.

One of the most common symptoms of bipolar disorder at work that you should watch out for is a lack of energy or motivation.

If you find it difficult to remain focused on the task at hand, then this could mean that you are experiencing a symptom of either major depression or bipolar disorder at work.

In turn, this lack of concentration could lead you to lose interest in completing required employment tasks.

Internally, you may experience feelings of extreme negativity, self-doubt, worthlessness, guilt, or misery.

All of these symptoms of bipolar disorder at work could in turn possibly cause disruptions in rational thinking, such as the experience of delusions or hallucinations.

Poor Physical Ability

Although symptoms of bipolar disorder at work are primarily internally based (mental or psychological), this does not mean that they have no impact on outer behaviors or physical abilities.

Some examples of physical duties that may be required on the job, particularly with jobs in the areas of construction or manual labor, include heavy lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling items, or walking.

Because bipolar disorder drastically impacts behavioral and physical health conditions, however, you may not be able to successfully perform such tasks on the job as much as is "the norm."

Since bipolar disorder greatly impacts your sleeping habits and patterns, physical exhaustion may ensue, in addition to issues with balance or muscle pain.

Frequent Periods of Unemployment

According to a variety of studies that have been conducted on the topic of bipolar disorder at work, those who suffer from bipolar disorder generally experience difficulties when it comes to maintaining employment for long periods of time.

One study revealed that a group of patients who were hospitalized for mania had an employment rate of 43%, in spite of the fact that 80% of the patients experienced little to no symptoms of bipolar disorder at work.

In a follow-up study conducted 1.7 years later, 42% of this same group of patients reported continued periods of gainful employment throughout this period of time.23% of this same group reported that they had been unemployed throughout this period of time.

In addition to frequent periods of unemployment, individuals who experience symptoms of bipolar disorder at work often suffer from regular periods of absence at work, given the nature of their condition.

A recent study revealed that those who endure bipolar disorder at work are seven times more likely to endure absences due to fatigue or general lack of motivation. 

Inability to Appropriately Respond to Supervisors

Since it is especially difficult to manage social symptoms of bipolar disorder at work, it is more than likely that you will either be fearful of or combative toward supervisors or those in positions of authority.

Given that individuals with bipolar disorder experience severe mood swings and are especially sensitive to criticism, they may not be able to respond well to constructive feedback that is administered on the job.

If you suffer from bipolar disorder at work, then there is a possibility that you may take things too personally, or suffer from high levels of self-doubt that prevent you from seeing or responding to situations clearly.


Most of us can agree that handling the symptoms of bipolar disorder at work is rather challenging.

Whether it is falling asleep on the job, lacking motivation when it comes to work attendance, being unable to respond appropriately in social situations, feeling depressed, or experiencing an elevated mood, every behavior linked to individual emotions is important to examine.

Experiencing bipolar disorder at work, while incredibly debilitating, does have solutions to it that can be explored.

Many individuals with bipolar disorder choose part-time remote jobs that have flexible schedules or request various accommodations on the job.

No matter the type or severity of bipolar disorder that you are experiencing, there are always solutions and ways to manage the behaviors at hand, so it is always possible for you to thrive in spite of having bipolar disorder at work.


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February 6th, 2023