Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects approximately 1-3 percent of the population. It is characterized by extreme mood swings that range from episodes of mania or hypomania to episodes of severe depression. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe and interfere with a person’s daily life. In this post, we will discuss the bipolar symptoms in detail.
But first, it’s important to note that bipolar disorder is a complex condition, and symptoms may differ from person to person. A bipolar disorder diagnosis should be made by a mental health professional after a thorough mental health evaluation.
Manic Or Hypomanic Episodes
Manic or hypomanic episodes are characterized by a period of elevated or irritable mood, increased energy, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, grandiosity, and impulsivity. During a manic episode, a person may feel euphoric or excessively irritable. They may also have a decreased need for sleep, talk rapidly, and engage in impulsive behavior such as reckless spending, drug use, or sexual promiscuity.
Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. A person experiencing hypomania may feel more energetic and productive than usual but can still function normally. Hypomania does not usually interfere with daily activities, but it can lead to problems if it goes untreated.
Symptoms Of Manic Or Hypomanic Episodes
- Euphoria or irritability
- Increased energy and activity levels
- Decreased need for sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Grandiosity or inflated self-esteem
- Increased talkativeness
- Impulsivity or reckless behavior
- Poor judgment
- Hallucinations or delusions (in severe cases)
Looking Deeper At Mania & Hypomania
Mania and hypomania may share some similar symptoms, but they are two distinct conditions. Hypomania is considered to be a less severe form of mania. People experiencing either condition may exhibit some or all of the symptoms.
Although some may find the manic symptoms of mania or hypomania to be exciting, for individuals on the manic side of bipolar depression, it can be a confusing and unpleasant state of being. They may feel out of control, confused, and even experience psychotic symptoms. This state is very much the opposite of a depressive episode and does not represent a sane or reasonable state of mind. However, there are ways to help individuals in a manic episode who seek relief from the intensity and confusion that it causes.
Depressive episodes are characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, and worthlessness. During a depressive episode, a person may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, have changes in appetite and sleep, and experience fatigue or loss of energy. They may also have difficulty concentrating or making decisions and have thoughts of death or suicide.
Symptoms Of Depressive Episodes
- Sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Forms Of Bipolar Depression
- Bipolar I Disorder — Involves at least one manic episode preceded or proceeded by a stage of hypomania or major depression. It is not uncommon for episodes of intense mania to trigger temporary breaks from reality (psychosis).
- Bipolar II Disorder — Involves at least one episode of hypomania and at least one episode of major depression — manic episodes have not occurred.
- Cyclothymic Disorder — Involves many episodes of both hypomania and depression over the course of two or more years (for children and teenagers, one year).
- Other forms — Involve symptoms of bipolar depression caused by medical conditions like Cushing’s disease or multiple sclerosis, drugs and/or alcohol abuse, or other factors.
Mixed episodes are characterized by symptoms of both manic and depressive episodes occurring together. A person experiencing a mixed episode may have extreme irritability, agitation, racing thoughts, difficulty sleeping, and suicidal thoughts or behavior.
It’s essential to note that bipolar disorder is a complex condition, and symptoms may differ from person to person. A diagnosis should be made by a mental health professional after a thorough evaluation.
Symptoms Of Mixed Episodes
- Symptoms of both manic and depressive episodes occurring together
- Extreme irritability
- Racing thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Bipolar Disorder Treatment
The treatment for bipolar depression differs from that of chronic depression or major depressive disorder, even though there is some overlap in the treatment methods. Common treatments for both conditions typically include:
- Assessment, Diagnostic, and Referral Services
- Talk Therapy
- Confidential Individual and Family Counseling
- Group Therapy
- Family Focused Therapy
However, when it comes to managing bipolar depression, doctors may prescribe medication with the goal of establishing a floor on how low someone can feel and a ceiling on how high they can feel. This approach helps to balance out one’s mood and thinking, providing more stability and control over their life and schedule. Mood stabilizers are commonly prescribed to treat a range of mood disorders.
In addition to medication, lifestyle changes are also recommended for individuals with bipolar depression. Establishing a regular schedule for sleeping, eating, work, and recreation is essential to manage the condition effectively. These changes can help individuals feel more in control of their daily routines and reduce the severity of their symptoms.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. The symptoms of bipolar disorder symptoms can be severe and interfere with daily activities. It is common for people to mistakenly confuse “bipolar depression” (or “manic depressive disorder”) with ordinary mood swings, assuming that someone who experiences frequent and unpredictable changes in mood must be bipolar.
However, this is not accurate. If you or someone you know is experiencing bipolar disorder symptoms of bipolar disorder, it’s essential to seek a mental health professional’s help. With proper treatment, people with bipolar disorder can manage their severe symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.