Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

2013 Bipolar Update

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) is a psychiatric condition that causes major changes in a person’s behavior, mood, thinking and energy levels. The cycles of extreme mood change can occur as frequently as several times a day and the episodes can go on for several days to several months. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are generally of two kinds: either manic or depressive.

Manic Phase Characterized by hyper levels of various moods and behavior, although sometimes they can be mild enough not to be noticed.

Having outlandish thoughts about one’s abilities or human powers and extremely elevated sense of optimism, almost like a ‘high’

Unable to concentrate and is easily distracted

Talking extremely fast with quick changes of subject such that others can’t keep up

Poor sense of judgment

Impulsive, reckless behavior with blatant disregard for the consequences

Heightened, risky sexual activity

Excessive anger or aggression

Very low levels of sleep but high levels of energy

In severe cases, hallucinating and delusional thoughts

Initially the mania may seem comical but it can easily spiral out of control as one’s judgment gets impaired, resulting in rash (sometimes costly) decisions and extremely bad relationships.

Depressive Phase This phase is extremely melancholic and most cases tend to occur in this context.

Great sense of sadness, hopelessness and guilt

Decreased feelings of self-worth and confidence

Taking no pleasure in anything

Lacking in energy; very fatigued both mentally and physically

Spends a large amount of time sleeping

Appetite changes and weight gain

Poor memory and concentration levels and irritability

Thoughts of death and suicide

Symptoms of bipolar disorder that show both the manic and depressives elements is known as ‘Mixed Episodes’. In such case sometimes the manic side is dominant or sometimes the depressive side is prominent. For instance, the person may clearly exhibit manic conditions but also experience some level of depression. Or he may show mild manic signs and experience very deep depression.

Some people are more prone to either manic or depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder, while others fluctuate between the two. Symptoms may occur only in certain periods in life or may be experienced more frequently.

The mood symptoms of bipolar disorder can severely disrupt daily life including employment, school performance and personal relationships. For example, during an manic or depressive episode, a person may go on a massive shopping spree, spend too much time in bed, unexpectedly resign from their job or display sudden outbursts of rage.