Although bipolar disorder and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are two different disorders, they share similar symptoms that can make telling them apart difficult. Living with either condition comes with intense challenges. Luckily, many advances have been made in treating both conditions

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

A person with bipolar disorder experiences extreme high and low moods that can impact their daily life if not treated properly. They may feel very low energy at some points and at other times as if they can take on the whole world. 

Someone with bipolar disorder is likely to have guilt, restlessness, irritability, and mood swings. The dramatic level of energy and mood swings make it harder for them to complete their daily tasks. 

Bipolar disorder has three categories: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I 

Bipolar I is characterized by manic episodes that can sometimes last up to 7 days. A person with bipolar I experiences disruptive periods of mood swings and an unusual level of high energy. They can sometimes lose touch with the environment when they experience psychosis.

Bipolar II

People with bipolar II go through cycles of low and high moods. They usually do not experience full-blown manic episodes. What they experience is a mild form of mania also called hypomania.

Hypomania is a mild form of mania that lasts for a short period. A patient with hypomania experiences cycles of excited and over-active behavior but only for short periods (usually, a few days). 


Also known as a cyclothymic disorder, people with this type of bipolar experience milder forms of hypomania and other depressive symptoms. Symptoms of cyclothymia must persist for at least one year in children and teenagers, and two years in adults before diagnosis.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition triggered by a hurtful occurrence where an individual suffered harm or injury. Although almost everyone experiences different forms of trauma at some point, most recover with proper rest and care. Patients with PTSD experience symptoms after trauma that are more intense and last longer. 

Complex PTSD 1 is a condition like PTSD in which someone has experienced multiple hurtful events repeatedly. For instance, a PTSD patient will experience severe anxiety, flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares, and intrusive memories that make it challenging for them to function properly.

Bipolar disorder and PTSD often appear to have similar symptoms. Although a person with bipolar disorder tends to deal with manic thoughts, they are not necessarily related to any specific trauma. 

On the other hand, a person with post-traumatic stress disorder comes from dealing with the aftermath of the trauma someone experienced.

How Are PTSD and Bipolar Disorder Different?

The symptoms of PTSD and bipolar disorder can appear similar. However, the symptoms both conditions exhibit and the patterns they take are different.

Bipolar disorder is categorized as a mood disorder, so a person with the condition experiences symptoms that mainly relate to their mood and emotions. Typical examples are significant changes in energy levels and emotional states. 

In bipolar disorder, episodes of depression, mania, hypomania, or sometimes a combination of these can last from a few days to a few weeks. Depressive episodes can sometimes last for longer periods. Between the episodes that someone with bipolar disorder experiences, they may not experience any symptoms at all. 

PTSD falls into the category of anxiety disorder. Someone will not develop the condition unless they experience a kind of hurtful event or trauma. 

PTSD does not usually involve the key symptoms of mania which are:

  • Very high self-absorption, self-esteem, or grandiosity
  • Confused speech
  • A heightened level of energy or euphoria

PTSD, however, involves an irritable mood accompanied by a high tendency to take risks. This is also a symptom that commonly occurs with mania. 

PTSD involves other symptoms specific to trauma. They include:

  • A sense of disconnection or detachment
  • The person develops the tendency to avoid anything that reminds them of the hurtful event
  • Nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive memories, and thoughts
  • A person with the condition has negative beliefs about themselves and even other people
  • Difficulty remembering the hurtful event or trauma and physical stress response in situations that causes them to remember.


While both conditions wreak havoc on a person’s life and have overlapping behaviors, PTSD and bipolar disorder have different origins and symptoms. 

Living with either condition can make life hard. However, the many medical advances in treating both conditions make living with them easier. 

Ketamine infusion therapy is a treatment method that delivers promising results often resulting in almost an immediate and significant reduction in symptoms.

We use ketamine infusion therapy to help minimize discomfort our patients face as a result of the symptoms they experience. We help ensure every patient receives proper care and fully understands their infusion process.

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