Bipolar Disorder:

Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder involves periods of elevated mood, or mania, alternating with periods of depression. A person with bipolar disorder typically cycles between these two extremes, often with periods of normal mood in between. The pattern of symptoms differs from person. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others experience equal numbers of manic and depressive episodes. The frequency and duration of the mood episodes also varies widely. While a few individuals experience only one or two periods of mood disruption, most people with bipolar disorder suffer from multiple, recurring manic and depressive episodes.

There Are Four Types Of Mood Episodes That Can Occur In Bipolar Disorder: (Source: NIMH):
Mania (Manic Episode) Hypomania (Hypomania Episode) Depression (Depression Episode) Mixed Episode

Mania (Manic Episode)

In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria are common. People experiencing a manic episode often talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and are hyperactive. Cognitive changes in mania include grandiosity and feelings of omnipotence. People with mania also tend to be reckless, impulsive, and quick to anger. They lash out when others do not go along with their plans and blame anyone who dares to criticize their behavior. They also typically lack insight and judgment during a manic episode. Manics rarely seek help because they feel great and don't recognize that anything is wrong.

Signs Of Mania Or A Manic Episode

Hypomania (Hypomanic Episode)

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. People in a hypomanic state feel euphoric, energetic, and productive, but their symptoms are milder than those of mania and cause less impairment to functioning. Unlike manics, people with hypomania never suffer from delusions and hallucinations. They are able to carry on with their day-to-day lives. To others, it may seem as if the hypomanic individual is merely in an unusually good mood. But unfortunately, hypomania often escalates to full-blown mania or is followed by a major depressive episode.

Depression (Major Depressive Episode)

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is very similar to that of major depression. However, there are some notable differences. When compared to major depression, bipolar depression is more likely to include symptoms of low energy. People with bipolar depression tend to move and speak slowly and sleep a lot. They are also more likely to have psychotic depression, a condition in which they have lost contact with reality. The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, with suicide a major risk factor. Hospitalization is sometimes necessary. People are more likely to seek help during the depressive phase of bipolar disorder because the symptoms are unpleasant and recognizably disruptive. But some do not even seek help during depressive episodes because they have no energy and no hope that anything can change.

Signs Of Depression Or A Depressive Episode

Mixed Episode (Major Depression and Mania)

A mixed episode features symptoms of both full-blown mania and depression, either occurring simultaneously or alternating frequently. A mixed episode features the low mood and irritability of depression combined with the agitation of mania. This combination of high energy and depression makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.

Types Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can take several forms, depending upon the severity, pattern, and frequency of the manic and depressive episodes.

Biological Causes

Bipolar Disorder Triggers

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