What Are Signs of Bipolar Disorder? Warning Symptoms & Types

Signs of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that alters a person’s energy, mood, and ability to function.

Bipolar disorder formerly known as a manic-depressive disorder is a mental condition characterized by abrupt transitions between manic and depressive affective states.

According to the National Institute on Mental Illness, bipolar disorder often first manifests in the teen or early adult years and affects 2.6 percent of adult Americans or over 5.7 million people.

What are the warning signs of bipolar disorder?

Many of those who have bipolar disorder go through both hypomanic/manic and depressed phases. These fluctuating emotional states don’t necessarily follow a predetermined pattern, and manic phases aren’t usually followed by sadness.

Before feeling the opposite emotion, a person may go through multiple cycles of the same mood state with intervals of euthymia or normal mood. Bipolar disorder mood swings can occur across weeks, months, and perhaps even years.

The fact that these mood swings diverge from your typical personality and last for a considerable amount of time is a significant component of them. In the case of mania, it could take days or weeks, and in the case of depression, it might take weeks or months. The intensity of manic and depressed periods might vary from person to person and within a single individual over time.

Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder

Signs and symptoms of manic episodes

Most of the time, individuals who go through a manic episode are oblivious to the detrimental effects of their activities. Suicide is a constant risk for people with bipolar disorder because it can occur during manic and depressive phases. A person who is going through a severe manic episode, especially if they are having hallucinations and delusions, may need to be hospitalized to safeguard others and themselves.

  • Excessive joy, hope, and excitement
  • Mood swings that are abrupt and intense, such as swinging from being happy to being furious and hostile
  • Restlessness
  • Speaking quickly and thinking quickly
  • Reduced need for sleep or take rest
  • Increased impulsivity and bad judgment, such as quitting your work unexpectedly
  • Making ambitious yet impossible plans
  • Reckless and risky behavior, such as abusing drugs and alcohol and engaging in unprotected or dangerous sex
  • Having the impression that you are unusually important, clever, or strong
  • Psychosis is characterized by delusions and hallucinations

Signs and symptoms of hypomanic episodes

Hypomania is a milder variety of mania. While hypomanic, you’ll probably experience euphoria, increased energy, and productivity, but you’ll be able to go about your daily activities without losing sight of reality. Others could assume that you’re just feeling particularly upbeat. 

Hypomania, however, can lead to poor choices that hurt your reputation, job, and relationships. Furthermore, hypomania frequently progresses to mania or is followed by a significant depressive episode.

Signs and symptoms of depressive episodes

Major depressive disorder symptoms are the same as those of bipolar disorder’s depression episodes and comprise:

  • Overwhelming sorrow
  • Loss of enjoyment of activities that you once found enjoyable
  • Having trouble focusing and making decisions
  • Crying uncontrollably
  • Irritability
  • Low energy and exhaustion
  • Lack of drive
  • Feelings of worthlessness or despair
  • Greater desire to sleep
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • A shift in appetite results in weight gain or loss
  • Suicidal ideation (suicidal or death-related ideas)

Symptoms of a mixed episode

An episode of bipolar disorder known as a mixed episode includes signs of both mania or hypomania and depression. An episode that combines depression with agitation, irritation, anxiety, sleeplessness, distractibility, and racing thoughts is known as a mixed episode. The risk of suicide is particularly great when strong energy and low mood are combined.


What Is Bipolar Disorder? Symptoms, Manic Episodes, Testing See Slideshow

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that alters a person’s energy, mood, and ability to function.

People with bipolar disorder go through severe emotional bouts, or mood episodes, that normally last a few days to weeks. These mood swings might be classified as:

  • Depressive (sad mood)
  • Manic/hypomanic (an unusually cheerful or irri
    tated mood)

Most people with bipolar disorder have times of neutral mood. People with bipolar disorder can live full and productive lives when properly treated.

Differences between mood swings and bipolar disorder

Mood swings can sometimes occur in people who do not have bipolar illnesses. These mood swings, meanwhile, usually only last a few hours as opposed to days. Furthermore, unlike during mood episodes, these alterations are typically not accompanied by the significant degree of behavior change or difficulties adjusting to regular activities and social interactions that bipolar illness sufferers exhibit.

A person with bipolar disorder may experience difficulties at work or school, as well as in their relationships with their loved ones.

What are the types and treatment for bipolar disorder?

Manic episodes that last at least a week are the hallmark of bipolar I illness, whereas hypomanic episodes characterize bipolar II disorder or cyclothymia.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by four different types:

  1. Bipolar I
  2. Bipolar II
  3. Cyclothymic disorder
  4. Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders

Although bipolar disorder is a chronic condition, you can control your mood swings and other symptoms by adhering to a treatment plan. Medication and psychological counseling (psychotherapy) are typically used to treat bipolar disorder.

Health News

Medically Reviewed on 10/12/2022


Image Source: iStock image



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