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Signs of Bipolar Disorder

artistic representation of woman screaming on the inside

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a complex and often severe psychiatric condition characterized by distinct mood episodes: manic, depressive, and sometimes mixed. These fluctuations can profoundly affect an individual’s energy, activity levels, and ability to carry out daily tasks. Understanding bipolar disorder symptoms is vital for individuals to get an early diagnosis and treatment.

Starting bipolar disorder treatment earlier rather than later can help individuals get their lives back on track. If you or a loved one is struggling with this type of serious mood disorder, Serenity Grove Recovery offers comprehensive, evidence-based mental health treatment in Athens, GA. We also offer a range of other treatment programs for almost any type of mental health concern or substance use disorder that may affect someone. Give us a call at 844.904.3485, and we can walk you through our approach to treatment.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. There are four basic types of bipolar disorder; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely elevated and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very down or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.

What Are the Types of Bipolar Disorder?

Broadly, bipolar disorder is categorized into several types, each exhibiting unique patterns of symptoms:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: This is defined by manic episodes that last at least seven days or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes also occur, typically lasting at least two weeks.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: This is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes that are typical of Bipolar I Disorder.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder (also called cyclothymia): This is defined by periods of hypomanic symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least two years (1 year in children and adolescents). However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.
  • Other specified and unspecific bipolar and related disorders: This is defined by bipolar disorder symptoms that do not match the three categories listed above.

The exact cause of bipolar disorder isn’t known, but a combination of genetics, environment, brain structure, and chemistry may play a role.

What Are the Signs of Bipolar Disorder?

The severity and frequency of bipolar disorder symptoms, and how long they last, will vary depending on the individual and their particular type of bipolar disorder.

The Manic Phase of Bipolar Disorder

During a manic phase, individuals may feel invincible, full of grand schemes that might range from unwise business decisions to romantic sprees. Mania sounds like it might be something to desire, a surge of energy to get things done. However, it’s much more complex and dangerous.

  • Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
  • Euphoric mood
  • Extreme irritability
  • Racing thoughts and fast speech
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to sleep
  • Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
  • Drugs use, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications

The Depressive Phase of Bipolar Disorder

Depressive episodes in bipolar disorder can make the individual feel extremely low, hopeless, and drained. People in this phase may lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed and may feel a significant impact on their quality of life.

  • Feeling sad, anxious, or empty
  • Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
  • Irritability
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Mixed Episodes in Bipolar Disorder

Some people with bipolar disorder may experience episodes with mixed features, in which manic and depressive symptoms occur simultaneously. For instance, an individual might have all the energy and restlessness of a manic episode while at the same time feeling hopeless and depressed. Mixed episodes can be particularly dangerous because the depressive feelings may lead someone to act on harmful impulses or thoughts.

Achieve Wellness at Serenity Grove Recovery

At Serenity Grove, we are passionate about helping people manage their mood disorders and live happier and healthier lives. We are committed to delivering the care and emotional support each client deserves throughout their treatment. Even after our clients have graduated from their treatment programs, they can count on the community at Serenity Grove for anything they need as part of our lifelong continuing care services. Call us today at 844.904.3485 to start your journey to healing. You can also reach us via our online form.