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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The defining feature of bipolar disorder is mania. Mania that is mild to moderate, called hypomania, can be deceptive: It is often experienced as a surge in energy that can feel good and enhance productivity and creativity. As a result, a person may deny that anything is wrong. There is great variability in manic symptoms, but features may include:

  • increased energy, activity, and restlessness
  • euphoric mood and extreme optimism
  • extreme irritability
  • racing thoughts, pressured speech, thoughts that jump from one idea to another
  • distractibility and lack of concentration
  • decreased need for sleep
  • unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities
  • poor judgment
  • spending sprees
  • increased sexual drive
  • reckless behavior including fast driving
  • aggressive behavior
While an episode of mania is what distinguishes bipolar disorder from unipolar depression, depression of bipolar disorder can be predominating feature so that a person spends far more time in  depressed state than in a manic or hypomanic one. While there is great variability in degree and duration of depressive symptoms, features generally include:
  • feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • decreased energy, feelings of fatigue or of being "slowed down"
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • restlessness or irritability
  • sleeping too much or inability to sleep or stay asleep
  • change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
  • chronic pain or other persistent physical symptoms not accounted for by illness or injury
  • thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.

What Is Bipolar Disorder

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

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Article by: psychologist Sadia Javaid

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