Bipolar Symptoms and Signs

2013 Bipolar Update

Viewing Bipolar Symptoms and Signs

Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that can affect anyone in the world. The condition presents itself as an oscillation between the two poles of mental health, that is, mania and depression. The two different episodes can occur at the same time or one after the other.

There are various forms of bipolar disorder. These include Bipolar I and II, hypomania, cyclothymia and rapid cycling. The bipolar symptoms and signs of the different forms vary depending on which of the two poles is being experienced. The different forms are characterized by which type of episode (mania or depression) is more prominent.

A symptom can be defined as a subjective sense of being unwell. This is a personal feeling and only the sufferer is aware of it. On the other hand, a sign is an observable occurrence that can be seen by others. Normally signs and symptoms are used by medics as the first step in diagnosis. Let us look at bipolar symptoms and signs in detail.

Bipolar symptoms and signs of mania

The mania episodes of the disorder are referred to as the ‘high’ periods. They are characterized by a feeling of elation, irritability, and being busy. In addition, during this phase the victim thinks and talks very fast, changing the subject quickly, making it difficult to understand them. One may suffer from a bloated self esteem and feel they can achieve anything. In severe cases of bipolare I, an individual can experience hallucinations.

A person in this phase is full of energy and feels indestructible. This may lead them to engage in risky behavior such as crazy driving, going on shopping sprees and having multiple sexual partners. Some people also lose their appetite. There is an interruption of the normal sleeping pattern, with victims experiencing insomnia.

Bipolar symptoms and signs of depression

The depression phase is the ‘low’ of the disorder and is mainly characterized by negative thoughts about oneself and others. It is characterized by sadness, a lot of weeping and feelings of guilt and worthlessness. One also does not care about personal hygiene or grooming presenting themselves as untidy. In the depressive state, one finds it difficult to concentrate or remember even important events. One is not able to enjoy even pleasurable activities

During the depressive state, one may either suffer from insomnia (lack of sleep) or hypersomnolence (too much sleep). They lack energy and lose appetite, leading to weight loss. They also withdraw from their friends and other social networks. In extreme cases it leads to suicidal tendencies.

It is important to note that not all bipolar symptoms and signs are present in everyone suffering from the condition. People will exhibit different symptoms depending on the form of the bipolar disorder they are suffering from.

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