Bipolar Disorder: Signs and Symptoms


All of us have ups and downs, but those who suffer from bipolar disorder have more serious grounds to think about their health and state of mind. The symptoms of bipolar disorder might cause harm to one’s career and educational performance, spoil relationships with people and bring disruption to one’s everyday life. The following bipolar disorder essay will discuss the signs and symptoms of this condition to make it clear why bipolar disorder is so hard to treat and overcome. Although bipolar disorder is quite treatable, most people are not aware of the warning signs and symptoms of this condition and do not consider it relevant to seek medical assistance. However, it is a fact that bipolar disorder tends to get worse without proper treatment. That is why it is important to know the symptoms of the condition that all people should be warned about. Recognizing the issue is the first step towards improving one’s state of mind.

What is bipolar disorder? Bipolar disorder is a widespread mental problem also known as manic depression. This disorder causes severe mood shifts as well as changes in energy level, thinking abilities and behavior patterns. This reveals in extreme changes from one condition to another. This is more than just changing from good to bad mood as the mood swings can last for days and even months. Unlike the usual mood swings, the changes of the state of mind in case of bipolar disorder are more intense and can interfere with one’s ability to lead a normal life. During an episode of manic, an individual might act impulsively, which reveals in sudden quitting from a job, taking huge amounts of money from credit cards and feeling good after no more than two hours sleep. During the period of depression, the same individual might experience tiredness and exhaustion. He/she might suffer from hopelessness and hatred towards him/herself over certain life calamities like getting unemployed or having a minor debt.

It is not quite clear what causes bipolar disorder, but it is often passed on from parents to children. The first episode of the disorder, either manic or depressive one, usually takes place at the teen age or in the early adulthood. Bipolar disorder has rather subtle and in most cases confusing symptoms. Thus, many people suffering from this condition are often misdiagnosed, which results in excessive suffering. However, appropriate means of treatment and support of the diseased individual can help patients to return back to normal and lead a satisfactory life. Let us discuss the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder may vary from individual to individual. This depends on the severity of the condition and the frequency of mood swings. Some people tend to be affected by either depression or mania. At the same time, other people exhibit alternations of these conditions. Some people frequently have a disrupted mood, while others may experience it only several times in a lifetime. Experts distinguish four types of disorder episodes, including hypomania, mania, mixed episodes and depression. Every type of episodes has its own symptoms as will be analyzed below.

  • Mania. In the phase of mania, a person might experience such feelings as an elevated level of energy, euphoria and boosted creativity. People suffering from this condition usually talk fast and sleep little. They tend to be hyperactive and are always on the move. They are likely to feel invincible and even consider themselves geniuses. Although at first a person might feel extremely good, this phase quickly gets out of control. People start acting recklessly, gambling, making unreasonable business investments or engaging in improper sexual behavior. They might also become irritable, aggressive and angry without any ground reason. This might lead to blaming those who criticize their behavior. Besides, a person might eventually start suffering from hallucinations and hearing voices.
  • Hypomania. This type of bipolar disorder is known for being less severe than mania. People suffering from hypomania often feel energetic and euphoric, while their level of productivity is constantly elevated. They tend to be able to perform various duties and responsibilities with much efficiency and always remain in touch with real life. It may seem to other people that hypomania might be some kind of an extraordinarily good mood. Nevertheless, this type of disorder can lead to poor decision making that might cause harm to relationships with other people, one’s reputation and career. Besides, hypomania tends to transform into full-fledged mania being followed by an episode of short-term or long-lasting depression.

People suffering from either form of mania might feel extraordinarily optimistic and “high” or they might be extremely angry and irritable. People with these disorders also tend to have unrealistic expectations regarding their skills and abilities. They sleep little and at the same time always feel energetic. They also talk rapidly so that other people cannot keep track of what they are saying. They have racing thoughts and tend to quickly jump from one thought to another. Hallucinations are also common for people with mania, although this happens in more serious cases.

Let us now discuss the types of depressive episodes peculiar to bipolar disorder.

  • Bipolar depression. Previously, bipolar depression was considered the same as ordinary depression, but recent research has found out considerable differences between the two conditions. Besides, these two forms of depression require different kinds of treatment. The majority of people suffering from bipolar depression cannot be helped with antidepressant medications. There is even a risk that such treatment can make the condition of a patient worse causing rapid mood swings and interfering with other drugs used for treating the condition. The most common symptoms of bipolar depression are irritability, unregulated mood swings, a feeling of guilt, restlessness and many others. People suffering from this type of depression usually move and communicate very slowly. They sleep much and easily gain weight. They are also more likely to suffer from psychotic depression when a person loses touch with reality and is unable to lead a normal social life.
  • Mixed episode. The symptoms of the mixed episode are interrelated with the signs of hypomania or mania and depression all at once. The most commonly known signs of this type of disorder include agitation, anxiety, irritability, sleep disorder and racing thoughts. Such a combination of a high level of energy and bad mood makes people suffering from this condition especially vulnerable to the risk of committing suicide.

To conclude, experts distinguish different types and phases of bipolar disorder, but despite the severity of the symptoms, one should not think that these conditions cannot be treated. Bipolar disorder is a treatable disease, and after a person undergoes both therapeutic and medical treatment, he/she would be able to lead a perfectly normal life.

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