Self-Absorption and Bipolar Disorder

Mental health disorders are often understood. A person who has never struggled with bipolar disorder may see the symptoms of manic and depressive episodes as signs of the following:

  • Self-absorption
  • Selfishness
  • Manipulation
  • Demanding behavior

A person with bipolar is none of these things, but their symptoms can be misunderstood. They struggle during manic and depressive episodes. This struggle can come across as something other than the mental health issue it is. It can look like self-absorption when others do not understand the physical, psychological and emotional effects of the disorder.

Self-Absorption and Manic Episodes of Bipolar Disorder

Manic episodes of bipolar disorder provide an individual with a surge of energy and heightened mood.

These episodes are characterized by the following:

  • Grandiose behavior
  • Self-confidence
  • Racing thoughts
  • Spastic speech
  • Increased activity levels
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hypersensitive emotions

Grandiosity is a key sign of a manic episode. Psych Central explains, “Inflated self-esteem is typically present, ranging from uncritical self-confidence to marked grandiosity, and may reach delusional proportions.”1 This means self-absorption is a symptom, not a personality trait. It may simply be an individuals’ attempt to capitalize on the energy, confidence and activity that comes with a manic bipolar episode.

Improved mood and energy levels can make bipolar individuals feel alive especially if they have recently experienced a depressive episode.

At this time individuals may feel supercharged to fix the problems in their life, take control and make positive changes. Because of this bipolar individuals’ thoughts are usually preoccupied by achieving self-improvement and tackling new projects. This can come off as self-absorption. Racing flights of thought, an inability to focus and impulsiveness can also make bipolar individuals appear self-absorbed or too busy to care about others’ thoughts, ideas and emotions.

Self-Absorption and Depressive Episodes of Bipolar Disorder

Depressive episodes of mania can also look like self-absorption or self-centered behavior. Depression causes individuals to withdraw from others and even themselves.

As The Guardian explains, “Depression is a disease of loneliness. Many untreated depressives lack friends because it saps the vitality that friendship requires and immures its victims in an impenetrable sheath, making it hard for them to speak or hear words of comfort.”2

Depression causes emotional despair, feelings of sadness and hopelessness and physical exhaustion and fatigue. Individuals with depression often isolate themselves due to these extreme feelings of sadness or tiredness. Depression can cause a person to avoid relationships, responsibilities, social encounters, activities, intimacy and work. This can be falsely identified as self-absorbed behavior at a time when someone needs social support and understanding the most.

Can You Cure Bipolar Disorder?

Because bipolar disorder is a chronic or lifelong condition, treatment options must consider the long-term picture. The most successful treatment options are the ones that individuals can easily incorporate into their life and maintain for the long haul.

While medications may be appropriate for short-term periods or limited use, they are not always a good decision for long-term use since they come with a risk of tolerance, dependence and addiction.

Combining medicinal treatment options with behavioral therapies, counseling, self-help groups, psychotherapies and skills training can be very effective.

With the right treatment, an individual can manage bipolar disorder symptoms. He or she can find or return to a normal, balanced life. There are several treatment options for bipolar disorder, and any one of these can work for you or a loved one. What works for one individual will not necessarily work for everyone, but with a customized treatment plan, you can find the right, most effective options.

Treatment can be supplemented with simple lifestyle changes such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, exercising and making time to relax, de-stress or get in touch with one’s spiritual side. An integrated treatment plan offers tools, skills and techniques for accomplishing this as well.

Find Help for Managing the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

If you would like to learn more about your options for treating bipolar disorder, give us a call. We’re available 24 hours a day at 844-768-1248, to help you with any questions or concerns you may have. We can also find and connect you with the treatment and recovery services that are right for you and your unique needs.

Whether you are seeking information or you are ready to find treatment today, we can help. You can manage your bipolar disorder; call and learn how.


Bressert, Steve. “Manic Episode Symptoms.” Psych Central. 15 Jan. 2018.

Solomon, Andrew. “Depression Is a Disease of Loneliness.” The Guardian.16 Aug. 2014.

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