What are the symptoms?
Disruptive mood changes leading to mania/hypomania “highs” or depression “lows”, described below.
Symptoms of manic or hypomanic phase - the "highs" of bipolar disorder:
- Increased physical and mental activity and energy
- Heightened mood, exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
- Excessive irritability, aggressive behavior
- Decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue
- Grandiose delusions, inflated sense of self-importance
- Racing speech, racing thoughts, flight of ideas
- Impulsiveness, poor judgment, distractibility
- Reckless behavior
- In the most severe cases, delusions and hallucinations
Symptoms of depression - the "lows" of bipolar disorder:
- Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
- Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
- Pessimism, indifference
- Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
- Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
- Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Do you think you might have Bipolar Disorder?
It is critical to seek help for Bipolar Disorder as it is a lifelong disorder and is likely to worsen without treatment. Without treatment, manic and depressive episodes tend to occur more frequently ("rapid-cycling") and are more severe. Fortunately, effective treatment can greatly assist the individual with Bipolar Disorder to lead a healthy, productive life.
It is important that a psychiatrist, who is an expert in psychiatric medication, be prescribing and closely monitoring medication for management/prevention of side effects or any kind of mood disorder as anti-depressant medications may trigger a manic or hypomanic episode in an individual with a genetic predisposition to Bipolar Disorder.
- Campus area Support Group: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Facing Bipolar: The Young Adult's Guide to Dealing with Bipolar Disorder. Russell Federman and J. Anderson Thompson, Jr.
- A Guide for Individuals and Families Living with Bipolar Disorder. Michael Otto, Noreen Reilly-Harrington, Robert O. Knauz, and Aude Henin.
- Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner, Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston
- The Bipolar Workbook, Monica Ramirez Basco
- An Unquiet Mind, Kay R. Jamison, personal experience