Spotlight on Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Manic Episodes and Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Bipolar disorder is a condition that generally swings from an elevated emotional state to periods of depression that may be deep and long lasting. Each phase has a separate set of symptoms. A manic phase can be identified by the following signs and symptoms:
- An excessively elevated mood that may include irritation and hyperactivity
- An inflated sense of self importance
- Rapid speech and agitated mannerisms
- A decreased need for sleep and rest
- Poor performance in a work or school situation
- Easily distracted and moves from one thing to another
- Loses rationality and becomes involved in high risk activities that give momentary pleasure. These include wild shopping sprees and sexual escapades
- Indulging in alcohol or drugs with little or no restraint
- Delusions and a sense of being disconnected from reality
Depressive Episodes and Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
After a manic episode, a person with bipolar disorder will generally descend into a state of depression that can last for an extended period of time. A depressive episode is characterized by the following bipolar disorder symptoms:
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Anxiety and worry
- Fear of the future and potential disasters
- Sleep problems including insomnia, too much sleep and nightmares
- Inability to concentrate and make even simple decisions
- Change in eating habits and possible loss of appetite
- Lack of confidence
- Aches and pains that cannot be traced to a specific cause
- Lack of interest in work or school and decreased performance levels
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts to commit suicide
General Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
As well as the symptoms of mania and depression, there are several other signs that a person may be suffering from bipolar disorder. These include the following:
- Some people find their bipolar disorder is influenced by the seasons. There is no set pattern as to what seasons are associated with the phase the person is experiencing.
- While mood swings are a part of bipolar disorder, some people tend more to have more depressive or more manic episodes.
- Some cases of bipolar disorder are characterized by rapid mood shifts. These shifts may occur within the space of a few hours or they may be spaced out with no less than four in a year.
- In severe cases of bipolar disorder, a manic or depressive episode can develop into psychosis. This is a detachment from reality where the person may suffer from delusions and hallucinations.
Bipolar disorder symptoms vary from person to person and in some cases, a mixed episode may occur where symptoms of depression and mania occur together. A person may not be diagnosed in the early stages of bipolar disorder but if psychosis develops, medical intervention is necessary and the condition will usually be diagnosed.
Head Case: Treat Yourself to Better Mental Health, Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, Headline Publishing Group, 2007