Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

I realized today that perhaps it would be a good idea to include an article that tells the reader exactly what bipolar disorder is and mention some of the variations and symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder where affected people experience disruptive mood swings, but it is not that simple. The moods range from mania or hypomania to depression or major depression. In some cases, psychosis can be present.

These are the characteristics of each state from “Bipolar Disorder” by Francis Mark Mondimore, M.D. :

Mania:

Mood symptoms – elated/euphoric mood, irritable mood, grandiosity

Cognitive symptoms –feelings of heightened concentration, accelerated thinking (“racing thoughts”), pressured speech

Bodily Symptoms – increased energy level, decreased need for sleep, erratic appetite, increased libido

Psychosis symptoms – grandiose delusions, hallucinations

Because of the grand feelings, this can lead to impulsivity, exuberance, and overconfidence that can lead to spending sprees, sexual promiscuity, and overuse of intoxicating substances such as alcohol, with no concern for what can become catastrophic consequences.

Hypomania:

Mild mania –mildly increased energy, mild euphoria… not agitated or frenzied, not nearly as disorganized as the manic person, and doesn’t cause severe social or occupational impairment

Depression:

Mood Symptoms – depressed mood, dysphoric mood, diurnal variation of mood (early morning depression and mood improving as the day goes on), guilty feelings, loss of ability to feel pleasure (anhedonia), social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, others not noted (anger, anxiety, hopelessness, apathy, and lack of motivation)

Cognitive symptoms – poor concentration, poor memory, indecision, slowed thinking

Bodily symptoms – sleep disturbance (insomnia, hypersomnia), appetite disturbance (weight loss, weight gain), loss of interest in sex, fatigue, constipation, headaches, worsening of painful conditions

Psychosis symptoms – delusional thinking, hallucinations, catatonic states

Severe Depression:

Think depression prolonged with most certainly sleep disturbance.

Depression can debilitate a person making ordinary tasks require extraordinary effort. In the elderly depression can be misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease because of overlapping symptoms such as memory loss and an impaired command of language.

There are a few diagnosis of bipolar disorder based on the DSM-IV:

–          For Bipolar I, the subject must have at least one full blown manic episode.

–          For Bipolar II, the subject must have at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode.

–          For cyclothymia, at least one hypomanic episode with periods of depression, but doesn’t meet the criteria for major depression

–          For Bipolar NOS… well this is a category when the disorder doesn’t fall into a subtype

So if even half of this fits someone you know, have them see a licensed professional, psychologist or psychiatric doctor, to get help. Bipolar disorder gets worse over time if left untreated. The majority of those who cycle rapidly (4+ episodes per year), had symptoms for years before being diagnosed; so do not wait. Get treated now!

Take Care!

MAI

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