What are the warning signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder?
Everybody has mood changes, but not everyone has the drastic mood swings that are characteristic of bipolar disorder. The high mood of bipolar disorder is called mania, or a manic episode. The low mood of bipolar disorder is called depression, or a depressive episode.
Bipolar disorder can severely disrupt normal activities, such as work, school, and relationships. People in the depressive phase of bipolar disorder may feel so low that they can?t even get out of bed in the morning. In the manic phase, people feel highly energized and may go on spending sprees, sleep little, overindulge in drugs or alcohol, or engage in risky sexual activities. Following are the signs and symptoms that distinguish bipolar disorder.
Signs and symptoms of a manic episode of bipolar disorder
happy, expansive, optimistic mood (feeling ?high,? feeling better than ever)
alternative mood: irritable, angry, aggressive, provocative, intrusive
impaired judgment; reckless; unpredictable
excessive involvement in pleasurable or high risk activities, such as sex, drug or alcohol use, or spending sprees
high physical and mental energy; increased productivity; excited; a feeling of high intelligence and creativity
extremely talkative, rapid thoughts
decreased need for sleep, less ability to sleep
inflated self-importance; in some, delusions or hallucinations
inability to concentrate; distracted; restless, impulsive
no perceptin that the mood and behaviors are abnormal
A person in the manic phase of bipolar disorder rarely seeks help; the person may feel good and not recognize that anything is wrong.
Signs and symptoms of a depressive episode of bipolar disorder
profound sadness, hopelessness, pessimism; crying spells
low self-esteem, worthlessness
?flat? mood: apathetic, indifferent; lack of interest or pleasure in most activities
fatigue, lethargy: decreased energy and activity; difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
restless, irritable, angry, worried, anxious, guilty
fewer thoughts and less talking; slower thinking and talking
difficulty in concentrating, making decisions, and remembering
social withdrawal; diminished ability to give and feel love
drug or alcohol use
change in appetite; weight gain or loss; loss of interest in food, even if eating more
change in sleep patterns: sleeping more or less than usual
suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts; life seems devoid of pleasure
People are more likely to seek help during the depressive phase of bipolar disorder than during the manic phase. This is because they recognize that the symptoms are disruptive to normal life. But some do not even seek help during the depression because they have no energy and no hope that anything can change.
By Jason Gluckman