Signs of Bipolar Disorder

signs of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a disruptive condition that can’t be cured, according to the Mayo Clinic. People who have this mental illness can go on to lead very healthy, happy and satisfying lives, but they often need in-depth medications and counseling in order to overcome the distorted messages that come from their brain cells. This kind of help can only come about when people who have bipolar disorder obtain the proper diagnosis and get into a treatment program. This list of common symptoms could help families to understand when a visit to a doctor about bipolar disorder might be in order.

Bipolar Cycles

Those who have bipolar disorder have moods that cycle, regardless of the events that are happening to them on the outside. Rather than feeling a mood shift due to some sort of exterior prompt, like a happy surprise or a sudden injury, they feel shifts due to nothing at all that they can point to, and often those shifts result in emotions of such intensity that they would frighten people who don’t have bipolar disorder.

For example, people with bipolar I disorder shift from episodes of intense happiness or mania to significant episodes of deep despair or depression. Bipolar II disorder isn’t quite as serious, as people with this variant might not have episodes of intense mania, but these people might still vary from deep depression to subtle mania on a regular basis.

Manic Symptoms

For those who develop bipolar I disorder, manic episodes can be intense. In an article in Salon, a writer who had bipolar mania described the episode as a cycle that began with feelings of creativity and happiness, but those feelings began to deepen and grow, until the writer felt as though he was hallucinating, chased by his own paranoia. He could tell that something about his mind wasn’t quite right, but he was helpless to stop it.

In addition to happiness and paranoia, common symptoms of mania include:

  • Rapid speech patterns
  • Distractibility
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Little need for sleep
  • Impulsivity

Depression Symptoms

While feelings of subtle sadness might be familiar to almost everyone, those in the midst of a bipolar depression episode feel an extreme form of sadness that might make them feel incapable of handling the tasks associated with daily life. They might find it difficult to even get out of bed in the morning, and if they do, they might struggle with concentration and energy. Sleeping seems to be the only thing that provides any relief, and people like this might sleep for days at a time.

Other Signs to Watch For

Inappropriate or unusual moods are the hallmarks of bipolar disorder, but it’s also relatively common for people with this mental illness to deal with issues involving anger and remorse. At one moment, they might be willing to fly into a rage and attack the people they love, but moments later, they might need or want physical affection. This is also a shift, and it could be a warning sign.

If you want more information about what bipolar disorder might look like, and what you should do if you see those signs in someone you love, please call us. At The Oaks at La Paloma, we specialize in helping people who have bipolar disorders, particularly when bipolar disorders occur in conjunction with substance abuse. Just call, and we’ll help you to develop a plan for the future.