Bipolar disorder isn’t something to take lightly. It can make everyday tasks difficult, let alone school.

Even on the best of days, bipolar disorder might take its toll. There are several negative ways bipolar disorder can manifest itself and make your school days more challenging than they should be.

Here are six ways bipolar disorder can make school difficult.

Concentration issues

Bipolar disorder can cause problems with focus and concentration. This can make it hard to pay attention in class, do homework, and study for tests.

If you’re experiencing a manic episode, you will have an even harder time concentrating. Your mind will be racing with an overwhelming number of thoughts that can make you easily distracted. While a manic episode is almost always unpleasant, the worst times it can probably manifest is during a test or presentation. These two activities generally require a lot of focus, and a manic episode will do you no favors.

Mood swings

Bipolar disorder is often characterized by extreme mood swings. These swings can be so drastic that they interfere with your ability to function on a day-to-day basis.

The unpredictability of mood swings can make it difficult to focus on schoolwork and complete assignments. For instance, during a depressive episode, it might be hard to find the motivation to go to school or do homework. You may feel like you’re not good enough or that there’s no point in trying.


Fatigue can make it hard to keep up with the demands of school. This can make it hard to wake up for early classes or stay awake during lectures.

On some days, you may not feel like getting out of bed in the morning. Even the simplest tasks like brushing your teeth seem too exhausting. Other days, you might get a decent night of sleep but still find yourself randomly exhausted.


The isolation that can come with bipolar disorder can make it difficult to interact with classmates and participate in class.

You may not want to see other people or feel like nobody likes you. This can lead to skipping class or avoiding social activities. On the other hand, you may act impulsively and say things you wouldn’t normally say. This can lead to people avoiding you or thinking you’re weird.

Negative thoughts

Negative thoughts and feelings can make it hard to concentrate on schoolwork or succeed in tests. You may have negative thoughts about yourself, your life, and your future.

You might have negative thoughts that are so unrealistic they set you up for failure. This can manifest itself in having low expectations of how you perform in school. You might feel you will fail every test, and therefore, you don’t think there’s a point in trying. Unfortunately, you will probably fail if you don’t bother to try. It’s a grim self-fulfilling prophecy.

Medication side effects

The medications used to treat bipolar disorder can sometimes have side effects that make it difficult to focus or concentrate on schoolwork. While medication can be very useful, unfavorable side effects like weight gain, sleepiness, or brain fog can make school more challenging.

These side effects can make you feel staying on medication isn’t worth it. Unfortunately, quitting medication prematurely or not taking it if you really need it is bad. You might deal with feelings of withdrawal, and your symptoms may come back. This can make school even more difficult to deal with.

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that can be very difficult to live with. The symptoms can make it hard to function in school and eventually fall behind.

If you’re struggling with bipolar disorder, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can help you manage your symptoms. You may also want to consider a bipolar treatment center should your condition get completely out of hand.

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