Bipolar Ghosting: Why They Do It?

Written By

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Updated:

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What is bipolar ghosting?

Ghosting, the act of suddenly cutting off communication with someone without any explanation, can be hurtful and confusing for anyone.

However, for those with bipolar disorder, it can be a complicated behavior to manage.

While ghosting is often attributed to the person on the receiving end of the behavior, it’s essential also to consider why someone with bipolar disorder may engage in ghosting behavior themselves.

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Ghosting and bipolar disorder link

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health condition that affects a person’s mood, energy levels, and ability to function.

  • Individuals with bipolar disorder may experience extreme highs and lows, known as manic and depressive episodes, which can last for days, weeks, or even months.

During these episodes, a person’s behavior can be erratic, impulsive, and unpredictable, which can lead to difficulties in maintaining relationships.

One reason why someone with bipolar disorder may engage in ghosting behavior is to protect themselves from potential rejection or abandonment.

Individuals with bipolar disorder often struggle with feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem and may be worried that others will reject them or abandon them because of their condition.

Ghosting can be a way to avoid this pain and protect themselves from further emotional turmoil.
world map of number of people with bipolar disorder

Why do bipolar ghost you?

Another reason why someone with bipolar disorder may engage in ghosting behavior is to cope with the intense emotions and stress associated with the condition. Manic episodes can cause a person to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and impulsive, while depressive episodes can lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and isolation.

Ghosting can be a way to cope with these intense emotions by shutting out the outside world and avoiding potential triggers.

Bipolar ghosting is a complex phenomenon that can have a significant impact on relationships. While the causes of ghosting are varied and can be rooted in many factors, it is vital to consider the potential impact of medication on this behavior.

Many medicines used to treat bipolar disorder can have side effects that negatively impact relationships, including ghosting.
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Role of medication in bipolar ghosting

One study found (source: Murray, G., Doty, L., & Strauss, G. 2011) that individuals with bipolar disorder who were taking lithium, a common medication used to treat the condition, reported lower levels of social support and more negative social interactions than those who were not taking lithium.

These findings suggest that medication could sometimes be a factor in the development and maintenance of ghosting behaviors.

It is important to note that not all medications used to treat bipolar disorder have negative impacts on relationships. In fact, some medications may improve social functioning and reduce the likelihood of ghosting.

For example, one study found (source: Johnson, S. L., Cueller, A. K., Ruggero, C., Winett-Perlman, C., Goodnick, P., White, R., & Miller, I. 2008) that individuals with bipolar disorder who were taking the medication quetiapine had higher levels of social functioning and fewer negative social interactions than those who were not taking the medication.

In addition to medication, there are also a variety of strategies and resources that can assist individuals in managing their symptoms and maintaining healthy relationships.

  • One option is therapy, which can provide individuals with coping skills and communication strategies to help manage their symptoms and improve their relationships.
  • Support groups can also be a valuable resource, providing individuals with a supportive community and opportunities to connect with others who are going through similar experiences.

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✓ You can message your therapist 24/7

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✓ Plans as low as $69/week for non-insured

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Why ghosting happens?

It’s also important to note that individuals with bipolar disorder may not necessarily be aware they are engaging in ghosting behavior. The impulsive and erratic nature of the condition can cause a person to act without fully understanding the impact of their actions on others.

  • In some cases, the person may not even realize that they have cut off communication with someone until much later.

If you are someone with bipolar disorder who has engaged in ghosting behavior, it’s essential to take steps to address the behavior and its underlying causes.

This may include seeking professional help, such as therapy or medication, to manage symptoms and develop healthier coping mechanisms. It may also involve reaching out to those you have ghosted and apologizing for any hurt or confusion caused.

According to research, social relationships are fundamental to human nature. Decades of research support that early caregiving experiences shape how individuals understand and process cognitions and emotions relevant to social interactions, which may impact the quality of all social relationships across the lifespan.

Individuals with bipolar disorder have impairments in social relationships, as described in parenting contexts, romantic and family relationships, and broader societal functioning.

Takeaway: Management of bipolar ghosting

In conclusion, ghosting behavior can be complex for those with bipolar disorder. While it may be difficult to manage relationships while dealing with the challenges of the condition, it’s important to remember that healthy communication and connection with others can be a vital part of managing symptoms and maintaining overall well-being.

  • By seeking help from a professional counselor and taking responsibility for one’s actions, those with bipolar disorder can learn to navigate relationships in a healthy and positive way.
It is vital to keep in mind the potential impact of medication on bipolar ghosting behavior and to explore strategies and resources for managing symptoms and maintaining healthy relationships for those suffering from Bipolar mental health conditions.

By taking a holistic approach to treatment and considering the many factors that can contribute to ghosting behaviors, individuals with bipolar disorder can improve their relationships and quality of life.

References

1. Johnson, S. L., Cueller, A. K., Ruggero, C., Winett-Perlman, C., Goodnick, P., White, R., & Miller, I. (2008). Life events as predictors of mania and depression in bipolar I disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117(2), 268–277.

2. Murray, G., Doty, L., & Strauss, G. (2011). Lithium toxicity: A review of possible neurological manifestations. Mental Health Clinician, 1(9), 22-25.

3. Scott, J., Murray, G., Henry, C., Morken, G., Scott, E. M., Angst, J., & Goodwin, G. M. (2010). Activation in bipolar disorders: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders, 127(1-3), 148-157.

4. Vieta, E., Goikolea, J. M., Corbella, B., Benabarre, A., & Reinares, M. (2008). Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of bipolar disorder patients with and without comorbid anxiety disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders, 105(1-3), 157-165.

5. Number of people with bipolar disorder, 2019 https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/number-with-bipolar-disorder-country?time=2019

6. The role of social relationships in bipolar disorder: A review https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165178114004636

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About the author

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Mindful living for a happier, healthier you. I’m a writer and mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with five years working as a therapist. I hold a psychology degree from the University of Warsaw. I specialize in writing about mental health, using my experiences and academic background to educate and inspire others. In my free time, I volunteer at a Disability Learning Center and go for nature walks. My writing aims to break down mental health stigma and help others feel understood. Social

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