Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is also known as manic-depressive disorder. This illness is a mood disorder which carries a psychiatric diagnosis. A person who is bipolar may experience deep depression with breaks of mania as a complete mood shift.
There are considered to be five classifications of bipolar disorder. Bipolar 1 disorder is when a person experiences defined manic episodes. Bipolar 2 disorder is when a lesser mania, called hypomania, is paired with depressed episodes. Cyclothymia is when a person does not experience severe depressed or manic episodes but still cycle through moods. Rapid cycling is when a bipolar individual experiences at least four episodes through a year. This may be through a day to day difference with ultra-ultra rapid cycling. Normally, bipolar individuals may only shift from depressed to manic once a year. Lastly, bipolar NOS disorder is when a person does not fit in any specific category but still experience impairment from their bipolar symptoms.
The symptoms for bipolar disorder can vary widely from person to person. It is important to understand that this disorder is marked by both depression and mania- without one of these two conditions, the diagnosis may be for a different mood disorder.
Here are 10 common symptoms for bipolar disorder, categorized by their depressed or manic instances.
1. Depression: Suicidal Thoughts
One of the most serious symptoms of bipolar disorder is the possibility for suicidal thoughts. In the depression phase, the sufferer may feel so down on themselves that they contemplate suicide. Even when diagnosed and placed on medication, suicidal thoughts may continue. They can be an unfortunate side effect of the medication. If you are feeling suicidal or you are worrying about a person you know who may be suicidal, contact your local mental health hotline and seek treatment.
2. Mania: Racing Thoughts
During the manic phase of bipolar disorder, many individuals may experience racing thoughts. Their minds may be so full of ideas, inspiration, and emotions that they find it hard to deal with. This symptom may present itself in irregular speech patterns. The affected individual may find it hard to continue with a conversation for more than a few seconds. The thoughts they experience may be disturbing or find connections between ideas where none is present.
3. Depression: Loss Of Interest In Social Activities
A depressed individual may isolate themselves socially by refusing to take part in social activities. Previous activities may not interest them anymore. This may be brought on by social anxiety or by lacking the energy to be social. Attending social activities may be overwhelming for a bipolar individual. Unfortunately, avoiding social activities will further isolate the sufferer, raising social anxiety and feeding their depression. Getting “out there” is a great therapeutic activity. They should take social activities one step at a time- slowly pushing their boundaries of what is comfortable.
4. Mania: Inflated Ego
When in a manic episode, a bipolar individual may develop an inflated ego. This is a huge difference from the self loathing feeling they may feel when in a depressed episode. The person may change their clothing and activities to show off to the public. They may alienate people close to them by degrading them in comparison to their temporary ego. As the manic episode fades into depression, their actions may cause self loathing and further alienation.
5. Depression: Feelings of Guilt
A person who is depressed may frequently feel guilty about their condition. They may feel bad for the pressure their condition places on their loved ones. They may feel bad for not being able to control their emotions. Bipolar disorder is not a choice, but a burden. The suffering person should not feel guilty for their condition. Unfortunately that is easier said than done. Understanding the medical condition can help the affected individual understand that their emotional and physical symptoms.
6. Mania: Overspending
The feeling of mania may have financial repercussions. The bipolar individual may go on shopping sprees when feeling good about themselves. They may not consider their financial obligations, instead they may purchase based on emotional feelings rather than rational ones. At the end of a manic episode, their bank accounts may be cleared and they can even hold new consumer debt. The physical items they possess may temporarily make them feel good, but they will never act as a medical cure for their condition.
7. Depression: Low Energy
When a bipolar person is in a depressed episode, they may lack the energy to do every day activities. This may include showering, cooking and eating, and taking care of their loved ones. The low energy is caused by the depression, but also the abnormal sleeping habits they may possess. A depressed individual may sleep for many hours longer than needed. Oversleeping can cause residual sleepiness through the day. The sufferer may also suffer from insomnia; staying awake thinking about all their worries. One treatment option for bipolar disorder are sleep aids to regulate the sleep cycle of the sufferer, hopefully helping the low energy.
8. Mania: Impulsiveness
During a manic episode, the bipolar individual may feel impulsiveness, causing them to act irresponsibly. They may skip school or work to partake in more exciting activities. The impulsive symptom may also make the bipolar individual take part in dangerous activities. They may be interested in a whole new host of activities that they would normally hesitate to practice.
9. Depression: Angry For No Reason
The frustration at being depressed can manifest itself into anger and rage. This is typically self directed as the bipolar individual may experience self loathing at their condition and inability to control it. The frustration can boil over and the person may misdirect it a their loved ones. The smallest problem may set them off into a rage. When confronted they may not understand why they are angry, just that they are. This anger may quickly turn into deep sorrow.
10. Mania: Increased Sexual Drive
A depressed person in a manic episode may partake in inappropriate sexual activities. While completely monogamous normally, in a manic episode the person may cheat with multiple partners. The sexual activities may take place in public places, as the individual may not recognize the legal implications. The sexual activities will have a marked difference between manic and depressed episodes. When depressed, their sexual drive may be non-existent.