How to manage hypersexuality in bipolar disorder?

How to manage hypersexuality in bipolar disorder?  

How to manage hypersexuality in bipolar disorder?

There are many symptoms of bipolar disorder, but hypersexuality is one of the symptoms that are not commonly known, and not completely comprehended by health care professionals.

But what is hypersexuality? 


Hypersexuality is defined as a strong desire for sexual activity or sexual activity that is extremely frequent. You may have heard the term nymphomania it’s because hypersexuality was previously known as bipolar nymphomania. However, now this is an obsolete term that is no longer used in clinical setting


People with bipolar disorder are more likely to experience hypersexuality, particularly during maniac episodes. This, however, might cause problems with sexual satisfaction and relationships. Moreover, it is linked to increased sexual risk-taking and the consequences that come with it. 



What is bipolar hypersexuality? 


Bipolar hypersexuality is an intense or extreme focus on sex, sexual thoughtsor sexual activity that can be a part of bipolar disorder and is most commonly encountered during maniac episodes. Hypersexuality, on the other hand, can lead to feelings of distress and have a detrimental impact on relationships as well as other aspects of life, especially our personal and professional lives.


Individuals struggling from hypersexuality may appear to be out of control or unaware of a problem at the time but afterwardregret their actionor behavior. In any case, the experience is not the same for everyone. 


In the moment


In the present moment of time, hypersexuality may present as a strongfrequent, and uncontrollable urge to engage in sexual activity, masturbate or view pornography. Potential results are not the primary concern as the focus is satisfying and fulfilling the urge, and some people describe their experiences as being addicted to or obsessed with sex. Because of this, the individual is more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as viewing pornography at work or having unprotected sex with a stranger



After the fact


Afterwarda person who has reacted to urges associated with bipolar hypersexuality may feel extreme shame or regret. This could be due to the feeling of not being able to control the urgesIn other words, the person may not be able to control or resist the urges and therefore engage in some othe othesexual activity


Moreover, it could be due to remorse (guilt or regret) related to inappropriate behavior. After the fact, they realized that they don’t want to continue experiencing and acting on the urges and thus seek ways to control themselves in the future.



Mental health and sex in bipolar disorder 


Sex drive and satisfaction may vary depending on the stage of bipolar disorder (BD). For instance, sex drive and satisfaction may be significantly different during a manic episode in comparison with a depressive episode. More specifically, high sex drive is an indication or sign of the manic phase of bipolar disorder.






Hypersexuality is defined as having an excessive desire for sexual activity or engaging in sexual activities on a regular basis. This is a symptom of manibehavior. This, along with general energy and activity levels, might increase during manic episodes.


Symptoms of Hypersexuality


You may be experiencing hypersexuality if you have


• Continued sexual risk-taking despite negative effects
• Difficulty with relationships, including commitment and fidelity
• Excessive sex-related thoughts
•  Lack of control over sexual thoughts or behaviors
• Intense sexual fantasies that feel out of control
• Strong desire for sexual behaviors along with relief and then remorse after the fact
• Use of sexual thoughts or behaviors to avoid feeling emotions




Hyposexuality is when sexual behavior and desire for sexual activity are extremely lowThis is more common during depressive periods of bipolar disorder. Thus, depressiveepisodes of bipolar disorder are linked to an increase in sexual distress.


Symptoms of Hyposexuality


You may be experiencing hyposexuality if you have:


• Decreased desire for sexual activity
• Extremely poor self-confidence in appearance or desirability
• Feelings of sexual vulnerability or worthlessness
• No interest or derriere in sex at all 
• No interest in personal hygiene and grooming
• No response when exposed to sexual content such as a book or movie
• Physical or mental exhaustion


4 Signs of Hypersexuality in bipolar disorder (BD)


Hypersexuality is more than just a high sex driveMoreover, one should note that hypersexuality linked with bipolar disorder is different from hypersexuality among people who do not have bipolar disorder. Here’s how to tell the difference

1. Taking Risks 


People who struggle with hypersexuality often have a pattern of taking risks with their sexual behaviors. However, this could involve participating in sexual practices at work or in public placeshaving unprotected sex, with multiple partners, and compromising relationships with infidelity. The risks associated with the behaviors are often not thought of and contemplated, or they may seem insignificant, until after the fact.

2. Feeling Regret or Shame After

In bipolar hypersexuality, there are often feelings of intense regret or shame after engaging in sexual behaviors. For instance, there may be an intense urge or extreme desire to engage in risky sexual behavior. They may feel relieved immediately after engaging in the behavior, but when they assess their actions and activities, they may experience severe feelings of remorse or shame.


 3. Continuing Unwanted Behaviours 

People with hypersexuality often struggle to stop repeating inappropriate or unwanted sexual behaviors, despite the consequences. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), job loss or compromised job or school performance, legal issues, financial issues, and relationship challenges are just a few of the negative consequences of sexual behavior. As a result, people with bipolar hypersexuality often feel out of control and find it difficult to resist their strong sexual desires.



 4. Changes with Maniac and Depressive Episodes

Bipolar hypersexuality differs from hypersexuality in those who do not have bipolar disorder because of the alterations in sexual thoughts and actions they experience. Their sex drive and sexual behaviors fluctuate frequentlyAs a result, hypersexuality is generally associated with episodes of mania.


Alternately, sexual desire and behavior tend to be lower, possibly even to the point of hyposexuality, during episodes of depression. 


How do doctors address hypersexuality? 


Bipolar hypersexuality can be addressed by treating bipolar disorder. Since hypersexuality is a symptom of bipolar disorder, particularly manic episodes, so treating bipolar disorder as a whole addresses  hypersexuality. The presence of hypersexuality can also help to guide bipolar treatment adjustments. For example, adding a mood stabilizer to the protocol may be beneficial


Inconsistent Definitions


There can be some confusion and perplexity involved in diagnosing hypersexuality with bipolar. It is a symptom of mania and is listed as one of the bipolar diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). Moreover, hypersexuality can be diagnosed among people without mood disorders


The basic definition of hypersexuality is that it is excessive sexual activity, without reference to possible underlying causes such as a medical diagnosis of bipolar disorder.


Possible Stigma


Especially given the varying definitions of hypersexuality and limited understanding of how it relates to other medical conditions, there can be a stigma. There are often feelings of remorse (guilt) and shame that come with experiencing hypersexuality and associated behaviorsThis can lead to hesitancy in seeking help, along with fear of how a provider may respond. Stigma may be an issue with a provider who does not fully understand the nature of hypersexuality and how it can present as a loss of control for the patient.




Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can be used as part of a treatment plan for bipolar disorder and hypersexuality associated with bipolar disorder. However, this may include specific techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy for the individual, couples therapy to work on relationship challenges, or a combination of therapy options.


The treatment plan must be customized according to the needs of the patient. There are different ways that hypersexuality can affect a person, and they may respond differently to different treatments.




Medications are often used in combination with talk or psychotherapy to create an effective treatment plan for bipolar disorder. These medications may include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. These medications can assist to treat and prevent bipolar episodes, including manic periods associated with hypersexuality.


Relationship Concerns


Both bipolar disorder and associated hypersexuality can include relationship concerns. It is seen that with hypersexuality, partner relationships tend to be the most impacted. This is, in part, related to the link between hypersexuality and sexual risk-takingand infidelity.


It can be a significant challenge for people with bipolar hypersexuality to manage their symptoms or manifestationsand the effects of those symptoms on those around them. With treatment, however, it is possible to have healthy relationships.


In conclusion, coping with bipolar disorder can be hard, and bipolar hypersexuality adds another layer to the challenge. Especially if you suspect bipolar disorder but it has not yet been diagnosed and treatment has not begun, you may not be able to recognize hypersexuality behavior at the moment. But that doesn't mean it won't weigh on you after the fact.


Although bipolar hypersexuality isn’t completely perceived and not fully understood, help is still available to manage and cope with bipolar disorder and hypersexuality symptoms.There are often negative effects associated with bipolar hypersexuality, but it can also be treated and effectively managed with therapy and medications. So lastly, one should reach out to a healthcare professional for support, such as a primary care practitioner, psychologist, or psychiatrist.





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