What Happens When Bipolar Goes Untreated?

Learn more about bipolar disorder, its signs and symptoms, and what can happen when bipolar goes untreated here.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects approximately 2.8% of the adult population in the United States. It is a disorder that causes extreme mood swings, including manic and depressive episodes. When bipolar goes untreated, it can make symptoms worse and increase the risk of suicide. It can also lead to problems in relationships and cause financial difficulties.1

Bipolar disorder makes it hard for people to control their feelings. Sometimes they might feel happy and excited (called mania or hypomania), and other times they might feel very sad and low (called depression). This makes it hard for individuals to predict or control their emotions. The severity of bipolar disorder can range from mild to severe and can impact a person’s life.

Categories Of Bipolar Disorder

The condition is often classified into two categories: bipolar I and bipolar II. Bipolar I disorder involves manic episodes that can last for at least a week and may be accompanied by depressive episodes.

In bipolar II disorder, the person experiences episodes of hypomania, a milder form of mania, as well as depressive episodes.2

Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can range from mild to severe. Sometimes, symptoms may not even be noticeable, depending on the severity of the condition.

When bipolar goes untreated, these symptoms may get more noticeable. Sometimes, the symptoms can seem like other mental health issues, which can make them hard to diagnose.

Mild Symptoms

Mild symptoms of bipolar disorder can easily go unnoticed. They are often mistaken for other disorders.

Some mild symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Increased energy
  • Mood swings, low mood, or irritability.
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Racing thoughts
  • Impulsivity

Severe Symptoms

According to the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), approximately 2.9% of adolescents had bipolar disorder, and 2.6% experienced severe impairment. When bipolar goes untreated, symptoms become more dangerous.

Some of the more severe symptoms of bipolar disorder include:3

  • Feelings of euphoria and impulsivity
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking
  • Agitation

How Bipolar Disorder Affects Overall Well-Being

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition that can affect a person’s physical, emotional, social, occupational, and spiritual well-being. When bipolar goes untreated, it can wreak havoc on every aspect of a person’s life. Below are some ways bipolar disorder can impact your daily life.

Financial Wellness

Bipolar disorder can impact an individual’s financial wellness. During manic episodes, individuals may engage in impulsive spending or other risky financial behaviors. This can cause them to have problems with money, like not being able to pay their bills or getting into debt.

When they’re feeling sad and low (depression), it can be hard for them to work or make money, which can make it hard to pay for the things they need. All these money problems can make it hard to feel financially secure.

Emotional Wellness

When bipolar goes untreated, it can cause significant emotional distress. Manic episodes can lead to feelings of euphoria, which can result in reckless behavior and poor decision-making.

When someone with bipolar disorder is experiencing a depressive episode, they may feel hopeless and lose confidence in themselves. This can make it hard to do everyday tasks. These mood swings can also make it difficult to maintain stable relationships.

Physical Wellness

When someone with bipolar disorder experiences a manic episode, they may overeat and engage in risky behavior. This can result in physical exhaustion, weight gain, or injury.

When they have a depressive episode, they may feel very tired, have a low appetite, and lose motivation, which can make them weak and less active. People with bipolar disorder also have a high chance of developing health problems like heart disease, diabetes, or obesity.

Social Wellness

When bipolar goes untreated, it can be difficult to maintain social relationships. When someone has a manic episode, they may talk a lot, have lots of energy, and want to be social.

During a depressive episode, they might avoid social activities, feel lonely, and have trouble talking with others. These social disruptions can lead to a lack of support, a decrease in self-esteem, and a decline in social wellness.

The Effects Of When Bipolar Goes Untreated

When bipolar goes untreated, it can have a range of negative effects on a person’s life. These include:

  • Increased severity of symptoms: Without proper treatment, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can become more severe and frequent over time. This can significantly impair a person’s ability to function in their personal and professional life.
  • Increased risk of suicide: People with untreated bipolar disorder are at an increased risk of suicide. It is essential to seek help if they experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • Relationship problems: Untreated bipolar disorder can cause unpredictable behavior and impulsive actions that can strain relationships and cause them to fall apart.
  • Employment difficulties: People with untreated bipolar disorder may struggle to maintain employment. They may experience job loss due to mood swings, difficulty concentrating, or fatigue.
  • Substance abuse: People with untreated bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing substance abuse problems as a way to cope with their symptoms.

Treatment Options For Individuals Living With Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition requiring ongoing treatment to manage symptoms effectively. The treatment approach for bipolar disorder usually involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes.

Below are some treatment opportunities for individuals living with bipolar disorder.


Medications such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants can help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. These medications help regulate mood, prevent manic and depressive episodes, and reduce the risk of suicide.

It is important to work with a mental health professional to find the right medication and dosage to manage symptoms.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can help individuals with bipolar disorder learn coping skills, manage stress, and identify triggers that may lead to mood swings.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) are two types of therapy that are commonly used to treat bipolar disorder. These therapies can teach people ways to manage their symptoms and feel better.

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes can also help manage the severe symptoms that occur when bipolar goes untreated. Individuals with bipolar disorder should maintain a regular sleep schedule, eat a healthy diet, and exercise. Avoiding alcohol and drugs is also essential, as these substances can trigger mood episodes.4

Support Groups

Joining a support group can also be helpful for individuals with bipolar disorder. Support groups provide an opportunity to connect with people going through a similar experience. They can offer emotional support and encouragement to one another.

when bipolar goes untreated

Get Help For Bipolar Disorder At Advaita Integrated Medicine

It is essential to seek help from a mental health professional if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. When bipolar goes untreated, it can be dangerous or even fatal. Luckily, help is just a phone call away at Advaita Integrated Medicine.

Our Mission

At Advaita Integrated Medicine (Advaita Integrated Medicine), we believe that everyone deserves to live a fulfilling life, and we strive to help our patients achieve that goal. We will empower you with the tools and resources you need to achieve long-lasting wellness.

We understand that bipolar disorder can be challenging and overwhelming, and we are here to support you every step of the way. We offer a variety of therapies to help you manage your symptoms. Our team of compassionate professionals will help you develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.

Contact Advaita Integrated Medicine Today

Don’t wait to find out what happens when bipolar goes untreated. Reach out to Advaita Integrated Medicine today for more information about our available treatment options.

Questions About Treatment?

Reach out to Advaita Integrated Medicine today and let us guide you toward a full and rewarding life uninhibited by mental health or substance use disorder challenges. We are here to support you every step of the way.

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