We're often told love is a form of madness - but what if falling in love triggers mania?
From improved sleep to alleviating stress — the health benefits of regular sex are now commonly accepted. Now imagine if wanting more sex was a sign that your neurochemistry was out of balance, and your mental health was at risk? Years ago, I dated a guy with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. A few months into our relationship, I dragged him off to sex therapy because of his seemingly uncontrollable behaviour.
Sex between us was either feast or famine. When happy, he had boundless libido. When low, his habit of stumbling out of bed to browse porn as the kettle boiled, or spending hours trawling the profile pictures of escorts had me convinced he had some sort of addiction issues.
Bipolar is essentially a mood disorder which causes an individual to swing between depressed and elevated states. Why there's no such thing as sex addiction. Why women want what men have. Why cougars could be onto a good thing. Most can manage their disorder through medication and therapy.
Individuals learn to watch out for triggers that may send them spinning into an exaggerated mood state. Hypersexuality, a frequent urge for sexual activity, has long been touted as a symptom of bipolar, which is said to become apparent as individual descends into into a manic or hypomanic state. Along with that energy burst and increased pleasure-seeking, comes the added complication of impaired judgement.
As Tom, a year-old student from Wales, who has just been diagnosed and has only just started on medication, put it: I can also fall in love with someone I barely know when we are having sex. Sometimes the acts of have no apparent consequences, other times there are heart-wrenching You get the gist.
Tina, who has bipolar disorder, has been with her current partner for six years and finds that her volatility is the real test: But because I can't control my actions, thoughts and feelings sometimes, I find it hard to show him how much I love and appreciate him. Which brings us on to the depressive lows. Like anyone with clinical depression, libido often evaporates as the mood plummets.
As Tina puts it: Yet if someone in a depressed bipolar state, or the common mixed state — where features of hypomania combine with those of depression - starts to self-medicate with sex, the
Signs of hookup a bipolar man is rarely positive.
The tension caused by mismatched libidos can really rock a relationship. But as Dr Nick Craddock points out, dealing with a mismatch in sex drives is a problem for many couples, irrespective of bipolar.
One in four people claimed it affected their relationship in the recent Natsal 3 survey. On the other hand: Now I know I was pretty much the worst choice he could have made. Of course, not having
Signs of hookup a bipolar man is also not the answer, says Dr Craddock. Just like everyone, people with bipolar still go through the usual fluctuations of wanting more or less sex. Did you also just go on a spending spree?
We advise people create a checklist of warning signs when they are feeling balanced. But for year-old Eleanor who was diagnosed two and a half years ago, the significance of hypersexuality is exaggerated. I may have had a lot of casual sex before I was diagnosed, but it was always with people I trusted.