Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Depth: A Research-Based Guide to Understanding ‘What Is Bipolar?’

 

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms: Riding the Emotional Roller-Coaster
What is Bipolar disorder? Bipolar disorder is a recognized mental illness characterized by severe mood swings between two emotional extremes – or poles – known as:


• Mania: a state of excitement or elation.
• Depression: a state of intense sadness or despair.

The bipolar disorder symptoms of mania and depression are much more than just passing good and bad moods. They are also very different than the powerful emotions we all feel in response to events in our lives – such as joy at the birth of a child, or grief at the death of a family member.

Picture illustrating the two mood poles of bipolar disorder: Picture of two masks - happy and sadThe Tough News:
Bipolar disorder symptoms can be severe and disabling. The cycles of bipolar disorder can last for days, weeks or months, and often interfere with the normal functioning of daily life. Some people are so badly affected by bipolar disorder symptoms that they need to spend some time in hospital.

The Good News:
Fortunately bipolar disorder symptoms can usually be controlled through a long-term program of:

• Medication
• Psychological training
• Lifestyle changes

Most people with bipolar disorder are now able to live happy and productive lives by carefully managing their condition.

What You’ll Get on These Pages about Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

These pages outline the nature of bipolar disorder and bipolar disorder symptoms. Feel free to jump to whatever section you are interested in, or just continue reading for the whole picture:

  • In What Is Bipolar Disorder you’ll learn how medical professionals define bipolar disorder, and what is known about its causes.
  • In Bipolar Symptoms you’ll get information about the different types of bipolar depression identified by medical professionals along with the most common bipolar disorder symptoms during the phases of mania and depression.
  • In Bipolar Disorder Tests you’ll learn how medical professional make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. You will also get the opportunity to consider the usefulness of the many question-and-answer tests for bipolar disorder now available on the internet.
  • In Bipolar Disorder Treatments you’ll get an outline of the common medical and psychological treatments for bipolar disorder symptoms. You’ll also get advice as to how you can help someone suffering from bipolar disorder – and what you can do if you are suffering from bipolar disorder yourself.

What Is Bipolar Disorder Really About?

“One must have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) ~

Psychiatrists classify bipolar disorder as a mood disorder, because its main symptoms are extreme changes in a person’s emotional state or mood. But that does not mean bipolar disorder is “all in the head,” an unreal product of the mind, or over-excited emotions.

Bipolar Disorder is REAL, a ‘Chemical Condition’

Research shows that people with bipolar have smaller amygdala areas in their brain. Picture of brain scanMedical research has established that bipolar disorder symptoms result from chemical changes in the parts of our brains that control our moods.

So what is bipolar?

Bipolar disorder is therefore a recognized physiological condition that affects the brain – a genuine illness, like heart disease or schizophrenia.

In the following sections you’ll find insights and answers about:

• The definitions of bipolar disorder

• The dangers and risks related to the condition

• The different types of bipolar disorders identified by psychiatrists

• What are thought to be some of the causes of bipolar disorders

• What are some of the external factors – or “triggers” – that can spark the onset of bipolar episodes

The Typical Bipolar Disorder Symptoms: Mood Swings

Moods Swings in ‘Healthy’ People:
Many healthy people may experience mood swings at some times in their lives, especially during times of emotional stress.

In most cases such mood swings will have a clear cause, and should pass completely in due time.

Mood Swings in People with Bipolar Disorder:
But each of the phases, or episodes, of bipolar mania and depression can last from a few days, to weeks or months.

The mood of a person with bipolar disorder will cycle between the two states, and with periods of “normal” emotional responses. Often there is no apparent reason for the drastic change in emotional states.

Other Types of Bipolar Mood Swings:
Some people cycle rapidly between episodes of mania and depression, known as a rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Some people even experience conflicting symptoms of mania and depression at the same time, known as a mixed-state bipolar episode.

Fabulous Video with Stephen Fry Sharing His Experiences with Bipolar

Here is a really great short video with famous British actor and comedian Stephen Fry. Intelligent and eloquent as always he shares his experiences of living with bipolar disorder.

In this video Stephen Fry has a very sharp weather metaphor of how “real” bipolar feels and how there is really no point in denying what is happening:

“If it’s raining it’s no good saying it isn’t raining. It is real. Water is actually falling from the sky” ~ Stephen Fry

Some Dangers of Bipolar Disorder

The overwhelming feelings and urges experienced by people suffering from severe mania or depression can make it difficult – and in some cases, almost impossible – to carry out the normal tasks of daily life.

Bipolar Disorder can Damage Lives:
People suffering from bipolar disorder symptoms can start to lose touch with reality during episodes of mania and depression, and may be unable to pay attention to important long-term aspects of their lives – such as their relationships with their friends or family, or their responsibilities at work.

Bipolar Disorder can be a Long-Term Disability:
Most people who suffer from bipolar disorder symptoms can now get regular medical and psychological treatment in a clinic or their doctor’s surgery, and learn to manage their condition as part of their normal daily lives. But the disorder can also be a significant disability, especially during depressive episodes.

Bipolar Disorder can be an Emergency:
People who suffer from psychosis or other severe bipolar disorder symptoms may need to be hospitalized until their condition is brought under control, for their own safety or for the safety of others.

People with bipolar disorder are said to be 60 times more likely to commit suicide than people without the disorder, and have a much greater risk of suffering from substance abuse and other mental health problems.

Bipolar Disorder Definitions: The Different Disorders Spot-On

A person experiencing an episode of mania is said to be manic, while a person experiencing an episode of depression is said to depressed. If you want to read more about depression specifically, I recommend you go exploring this research based page What Is Depression.

Bipolar disorder is also commonly known as:

• Manic-depression
• Bipolar affective disorder
• Bipolar depression
• Recurrent depression.

Episodes of depression where there are no corresponding episodes of mania are sometimes called unipolar depression, to distinguish them from bipolar depression.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar Disorder Symptoms: Brain Chemistry and Genetics

Medical research has established that bipolar disorder symptoms are caused by abnormal chemical changes in the parts of the brain that govern our moods and emotions. But relatively little is known about why those chemical changes occur.

It is now thought that bipolar disorder has a genetic link or origin, because the disorder tends to run in families. Researchers have identified several genes that are commonly present in the genetic structure of people who suffer from bipolar disorder symptoms. But not everyone who has those genes will develop bipolar disorder.

Triggers for Bipolar Episodes and Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Triggers for bipolar disorder: Picture of a switchUnlike periods of normal happiness or sadness, there may be no clear reason for the powerful emotions and urges experienced by people suffering manic or depressive episodes. But the onset of bipolar episodes is often linked to external environmental and psychological factors, known as triggers.

These triggers can spark new episodes of depression or mania, or make existing episodes worse.

Triggers can include:

• Stressful experiences or physical illnesses, such as childbirth, lifestyle changes or sleep deprivation
• Seasonal changes in weather and natural light are also known to trigger bipolar episodes
• Some medicines and recreational drugs have also been known to trigger bipolar mania

Every person will have different triggers that can spark bipolar episodes. Learning to recognize and manage the potential triggers of bipolar episodes is an important part of the psychological treatments for bipolar disorder.

You can read more about these psychological treatments in the Bipolar Disorder Treatments section of this page.

Factors in the Development of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is said to affect about one percent of adults at some point in their lives – or more than 60 million people worldwide.

The Age Factor:
The first manic or depressive episodes of bipolar disorder usually occur in the teenage years or early adulthood, between the ages of 15 and 25.

The Gender Factor:
Bipolar disorder affects men and women in equal numbers, but men tend to develop the disorder a few years earlier than women.

Bipolar disorder symptoms are often confused with the symptoms of other conditions, such as the normal mood swings and character changes that many teenagers go though during and after puberty. As a result, many people with bipolar disorder symptoms may be misdiagnosed for a long time before the true nature of their condition becomes clear.

List of Bipolar Disorder Types

Psychiatrists have identified several types of bipolar disorders, collectively known as the bipolar spectrum.

The most common types of bipolar disorder are:

Bipolar 1 disorder
Bipolar 2 disorder
• Cyclothymia

Bipolar 1 disorder, which features episodes of full mania and depression, is the most severe type. Psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations are more common among people with bipolar 1 disorder, and in many cases their condition may be misdiagnosed as schizophrenia.

People with bipolar 2 disorder do not experience episodes of full mania, but instead go through periods of high energy and impulsiveness called hypomania.

The mood swings between mania and depression can happen very quickly. This is called rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, and can happen with both bipolar 1 disorder and bipolar 2 disorder.

The phases of depression and mania can also be mixed – for example, a depressed mood combined with the restlessness of a manic episode.

A milder form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia involves less severe mood swings. People with this form of the disorder alternate between hypomania and mild depression.

You can learn more about the different types of bipolar disorder, as well as more about the causes and triggers of mania and depression, on another page of this site, What Is Bipolar Disorder?

List of Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar mania symptoms and bipolar depression symptoms will vary from person to person, and from episode to episode.

Many bipolar disorder symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other mood disorders and mental illnesses. This can often make symptoms of bipolar difficult to recognize for what they are.

In this section we take a look at the common bipolar mania and bipolar depression symptoms, and the related symptoms of hypomania and mixed bipolar episodes.

List of Bipolar MANIA Symptoms

Happy theater mask representing maniaMania is the distinguishing characteristic of bipolar disorder, the symptom that sets the condition apart from other mood disorders and unipolar depressions. Mania is usually characterized as a distinct period of elevated mood, euphoria or elation. But mania can be expressed in a range of ways.

The common symptoms of bipolar mania can include:

  • Insomnia
    The insomnia associated with bipolar mania is usually characterized as an inability to fall asleep at night, or to stay asleep. Some people may get as little as three or four hours of sleep a night, while others may go days without sleeping. Despite this lack of sleep, a person experiencing mania usually feels energetic during their waking hours, and may even believe they do not need to sleep.
  • Unrealistic or Grandiose Self-Esteem
    A person may have an inflated sense of self-esteem, and may even be delusional about their capabilities. This symptom is known as grandiosity. They may feel unrealistically powerful and important, or believe they have special abilities, such as spiritual or religious powers.
  • Irritable Behavior
    People experiencing bipolar mania often show exaggerated and irritable behavior. To other people, they may seem to be over-reacting to trivial things. But to the person experiencing mania, their feelings are urgent and important, and may cause a great deal of stress.
  • Distracted Behavior
    A person in a manic state may be easily distracted, and may become frustrated by their inability to keep their attention on any task. Distractions might be caused by internal thoughts and emotions, or by external events.
  • Goal-seeking and Pleasure-Seeking Activities
    Many people suffering from bipolar mania tend to seek out goal-oriented and pleasure-seeking activities. They may develop unusual aspirations, and an increased motivation to pursue dreams and initiate projects.
  • Poor judgment and Reckless Behavior
    People experiencing bipolar mania may show impaired judgment, or engage in behavior that is abnormal for them. They may act impulsively without considering the effects or risks of their actions – such as going on a shopping or spending spree that they cannot afford. They may even feel surprised by their actions, and come to believe they are “unable to trust themselves.”
  • Hypersexuality
    Increased sexual urges or an increase in sexual activity are very common symptom of bipolar mania, and known as hypersexuality. In many cases hypersexuality can lead to sexual infidelity – known informally as “bipolar cheating” – with potentially devastating consequences for a person’s partners and families.
  • Pressure of Speech
    People in a manic state may exhibit an unusual increase in the rate or speed of their conversation, known as pressure of speech. A person with pressure of speech may talk so quickly that it can be difficult to understand them. They may experiences an urgent need to talk, and become frustrated when they cannot make themselves understood.
  • Racing Thoughts
    Someone suffering from racing thoughts experiences rapid and almost random changes in their thinking that they are unable to control. This symptom is also known as crowded thoughts, flying thoughts and pressure of thought. It often leaves a person feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
  • Psychomotor Agitation
    Psychomotor agitation is defined as repetitive purposeless or restless activity, such as pacing around a room, constant fidgeting, or removing clothing and putting it back on. In severe cases, psychomotor agitation can cause physical harm – for example, a person might scratch their skin in the same place, or chew their fingernails, to the point of bleeding.
  • Psychosis
    Psychosis can occur in severe episodes of mania, and also in severe cases of bipolar depression. During psychosis, a person loses contact with reality and may experience hallucinations – seeing or hearing things that are not there – or delusions, such as false and unrealistic beliefs or perceptions about other people. In severe cases of psychosis, a person may experience very terrifying hallucinations that cause intense distress.

List of Bipolar DEPRESSION Symptoms

Sad theater mask representing depressionDuring bipolar depression a person suffers from a low mood and other typical symptoms of depression, such as sadness or despair.

Depressive episodes are often the most dangerous stages of bipolar disorder, a time when there is an increased risk that a person may take their own life.

Bipolar depression symptoms can include:

  • Intense Sadness
    The signature symptom of depression is an intense and lasting feeling of sadness or despair, often without apparent reason. Sadness is a normal and healthy emotion in response to many events in life, such as the death of a loved one, or a broken relationship – but as a symptom of depression it is often out of proportion to events, or may not be related to any particular events at all.
  • Oversleeping and Fatigue
    In contrast to people experiencing bipolar mania, people suffering from bipolar depression often sleep more than usual. They may sleep longer hours than normal, or sleep at unusual times of the day. When they wake, they feel tired or fatigued – even though they may appear to be getting plenty of sleep.
  • Apathy and Anhedonia
    People suffering bipolar depression may experience apathy – a lack of motivation or an indifference to things that would normally interest them. They may not feel especially upset – but they also find it hard to be happy or interested in anything. A related symptom of bipolar depression is anhedonia, defined as the inability to experience pleasure. A person experiencing anhedonia may no longer be able to take pleasure from activities that they would usually find enjoyable.
  • Changes in Body Weight
    A large gain in body weight or a loss of weight can be a symptom of depression. Weight gain can result from overeating in an attempt to distract a person from their feelings of sadness or anxiety, while weight loss can result from a decrease in appetite.
  • Excessive Guilt
    A disproportionate feeling of guilt is usually associated with feelings of low self-esteem. A person may feel that they have let others down or are personally inadequate.
  • Poor Concentration
    A person suffering from bipolar depression may find it difficult to keep their attention on the tasks in hand, such as their schoolwork or household tasks. They may feel confused and lost, or find it nearly impossible to make a decision about anything.
  • Psychosis
    Psychosis can occur during episodes of intense bipolar depression, as well as during episodes of mania. A person suffering from psychosis loses contact with reality. They may see things, hear things, or believe things that are not real. In some cases they can experience terrifying hallucinations, or wrongly believe that other people are trying to harm them.
  • Suicidal Thoughts
    People suffering from depression often obsess about death, dying, or killing themselves. During times of depression, a person’s outlook on life is often very pessimistic, and they may feel they desperately want to end their pain and suffering. Or they may have no actual desire to kill themselves – but may still find themselves thinking compulsively about suicide during an episode of depression.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms – List of HYPOMANIA Symptoms

Hypomania is a mild or moderate level of mania seen in people with bipolar 2 disorder or cyclothymia. The symptoms of hypomania are similar to symptoms of mania, but less intense.

In general, hypomania does not affect daily life in the same way as full mania. In some cases, people experiencing an episode of hypomania are even more productive or creative than usual. Hypomania can be difficult to recognize because it may seem similar to genuine happiness or productivity.

The symptoms of hypomania can include:

  • Excessive or Unrealistic Optimism
    An overall sense that everything is going well and will turn out for the best. While optimism is generally regarded as a positive trait, it can be unrealistic and even counter-productive in people experiencing a manic or hypomanic episode. Excessive optimism can cause people to overlook or ignore real problems they may face.
  • Pressure of Speech
    People experiencing hypomania may speak more quickly than normal, sometimes making it difficult to understand what they are saying.
  • Decreased Need for Sleep
    People experiencing an episode of hypomania often start to sleep fewer hours, but show an increase in energy and activity during the day in spite of their lack of sleep. For example, a person suffering from hypomania might work all hours of the night on new projects, without any apparent ill effects.
  • Goal-seeking and Pleasure-seeking Activities
    People suffering from hypomania may experience an increase in creativity and seek out goal-oriented activities – such as initiating new projects, or throwing themselves into new experiences.
  • Poor Judgment and Reckless Behavior
    People suffering from hypomania may show recklessness or poor judgment They may appear to act impulsively or thoughtlessly, without considering the consequences of their actions.
  • Hypersexuality
    As with full mania, people experiencing an episode of hypomania often exhibit hypersexuality – an abnormal increase in sexual urges or sexual activity.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms – MIXED Bipolar Symptoms

During a mixed bipolar episode, a person experiences symptoms of both mania and depression at the same time. The conflicting emotions and experiences of mixed bipolar episodes can be extremely confusing and frustrating. As a result, mixed episodes can be the most dangerous type of bipolar episodes – with an increased risk of suicide attempts and substance abuse.

In most mixed bipolar episodes a person mainly experiences symptoms of either mania or depression, along with some symptoms of the opposing state.

  • Dysphoric Mania
    A mixed episode where manic symptoms are predominant is called dysphoric mania by psychiatrists. A person experiencing dysphoric mania is in a mainly manic state with some depressive symptoms – such as feeling upset or tearful while in a generally optimistic or excited mood.
  • Agitated Depression
    A mixed episode with mainly depressive symptoms is known as agitated depression. A person suffering agitated depression is in a mainly depressive state with some symptoms of mania – such as experiencing pressure of speech or pressure of thought, along with feelings of intense sadness and despair.

Bipolar Disorder Tests

There is No Simple Test to Confirm Bipolar Disorder:
Contrary to some claims, there no blood test, DNA test or brain scan that can confirm or disprove bipolar disorder – although in many cases, doctors will carry out such bipolar disorder tests tests to rule out conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as a malfunction of the thyroid gland that can cause symptoms similar to mania.

Only a Doctor can Diagnose Bipolar Disorder:
Future developments in medical science and technology may lead to tests that can confirm the bipolar disorder – but this time a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is based only on long-term analysis of the symptoms by a qualified medical professional.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder is Difficult Even for Doctors:
Diagnosing mania and depression is therefore very difficult, because many bipolar disorder symptoms are similar to those seen in other mental illnesses and mood disorders. As a result, many people with bipolar disorder may wait years and visit many different medical specialists before receiving the correct diagnosis.

List of Types of Bipolar Disorder Test

Genetic Bipolar Disorder Tests:
Researchers have identified several genes in human DNA that are thought to cause an inherited predisposition for bipolar disorder. But these genes only indicate an increased likelihood that someone may develop the disorder. The presence – or absence – of these genes in a person’s genetic pattern can not “prove” that someone has the disorder, or prove that they do not have it.

“Do-it-yourself” Genetic Tests for Bipolar Disorder:
Be wary about any claims of genetic testing for bipolar disorder, especially the so-called “do-it-yourself” bipolar genetic test kits available from some online retailers – or any other sort of test for bipolar disorder that is not carried out by a qualified medical professional.

Online Bipolar Disorder Tests:
Several question-and-answer tests available on the internet claim to be able to help determine if a person may have bipolar disorder, or some other mood disorder. These online bipolar tests or quizzes are usually based on traditional paper and pencil questionnaires.

Some online tests may even be based on the tests carried out by mental health professionals during a diagnosis of mental illness. But the use of such online tests can be fraught with problems.

Risks of Bipolar Disorder Tests:
At best, a do-it-yourself bipolar disorder test might indicate that a person should seek qualified medical help. At worst, it could cause undue stress and worry, or even an undue sense of security.

You can read more about bipolar disorder tests, and other ways to recognize the signs of bipolar disorder, on another page of this site, Bipolar Disorder Test

Bipolar Disorder Treatments

Bipolar disorder is a chronic, relapsing illness that requires long term treatment. Current bipolar disorder treatments emphasize the management of the symptoms using medical drugs and psychological techniques.

Because bipolar disorder symptoms are known to be caused by abnormal chemical changes in the brain, they can often be effectively controlled with special medications.

Most people with bipolar disorder will need to take medication to prevent episodes of mania or depression. But medication alone may not be enough to fully control bipolar symptoms.

The most effective bipolar disorder treatments involve a combination of medication, psychological therapy, lifestyle changes, and social support.

See a Doctor if you see Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar disorder is a complex condition. Its diagnosis can be difficult to make, and bipolar disorder treatments may need to be varied over time to deal with the different symptoms that can emerge. The use of bipolar medication used to treat bipolar symptoms needs to be carefully monitored.

It is therefore essential to work with a qualified and experienced psychiatrist or psychologist who skilled in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Your own doctor or local hospital will be able to refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Lithium and Bipolar Mood Medications

The main types of medical drugs used in bipolar disorder treatments are called mood stabilizers, of which lithium is the most common.

Lithium has been used to treat both manic and depressive episodes for more than 50 years – although exactly how it works is still not clear.

Lithium can be harmful if the dose is too high, so regular blood tests are needed to check the level of the drug in the body – too little, and the drug won’t work; too much, and it becomes toxic.

It can take several months for lithium to work properly, and bipolar mood swings may continue for this time.

The side-effects of lithium include feeling thirsty, passing lots of urine and weight gain. People taking lithium may also be required to stop driving their cars.

Other mood stabilizers used in bipolar disorder treatments include:

Sodium valproate, an anti-convulsant drug
Olanzapine, an anti-psychotic drug
Carbamazepine, an anti-convulsant drug sometimes used to treat rapid cycling bipolar disorder
Lamotrigine, an anti-epilepsy drug sometimes used to treat bipolar 2 disorder

Sometimes a combination of medical drugs may be needed.

Lithium and Pregnancy:
If you are taking any drugs to control bipolar disorder, you should discuss any pregnancy plans with your doctor or psychiatrist.

Lithium is safer in pregnancy than other mood stabilizers, but the risk to the unborn baby must to be weighed against the risk of the mother becoming depressed or manic. The risk to the unborn child is greatest during the first three months of pregnancy. Lithium is considered safe after the 26th week of pregnancy, but you should not breastfeed your baby if you are taking Lithium.

Medications for Mania and Mixed Episodes

Mood stabilizers like lithium are also commonly used to treat episodes of mania and mixed episodes.

Anti-depressants are known to trigger mania in some cases, and should be stopped if an episode of mania begins. The symptoms bipolar mania usually improve within a few days after treatment with mood stabilizers has started, but it may take more than a month for a full recovery.

Bipolar Depression Treatments

Doctors may prescribe anti-depressants, such as SSRIs, or anti-psychotic drugs such as quetiapine, to help deal with bipolar depression symptoms. Antidepressants can take up to six weeks to work, and must be taken for at least two months after the depression has improved.

In some cases a patient may be prescribed anti-depressants while they continue to take a mood stabilizer like lithium. But anti-depressants have also been known to trigger manic episodes in some cases.

Importance of Regular Medication

Some people are reluctant to take medication as part of their bipolar disorder treatments, perhaps because they dislike how the medications make them feel. They may like the euphoric and energetic feelings they have during a manic episode. But those feelings come with a price. Mania and hypomania can become destructive, hurting the person with bipolar disorder and the people around them.

List of Psychological Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Psychological bipolar disorder treatments are particularly helpful between episodes of mania or depression, to help stop a person’s emotional state from swinging to the extremes of depression and mania.

Psychological bipolar disorder treatments can include:

  • Psycho-education: learning more about the symptoms and progression of bipolar disorder
  • Mood monitoring: learning to identify when moods may be changing into or out of a manic or depressive state
  • Mood strategies: these can help a patient to control their mood swings, and prevent them developing into a full-blown manic or depressive episode
  • Cognitive behavior therapy: this therapy focuses on monitoring one’s own thoughts, effectively “thinking about thinking.” With practice it may be possible for a person to guide their own thoughts and moods. Cognitive behavior therapy is especially effective as a bipolar depression treatment.

List of Self-Help Bipolar Disorder Treatments

A person’s lifestyle and daily habits have a significant impact on their moods, and so offer many opportunities to help keep their emotional state under control.

Self-help treatments that can help with episodes of bipolar disorder include:

  • Avoiding stressful situations: keeping stress in check, and maintaining a healthy balance between work, home and social life
  • Relaxation techniques: these might include meditation, yoga, or deep breathing
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle: regular meals, sleeping hours, and exercise can help stabilize a person’s moods.
  • Maintaining relationships: depression and mania can put strain on family and friends. Some relationships may need to be rebuilt after an episode
  • Having fun: doing things that are enjoyable and that give life meaning, such as family and social activities, hobbies, sports, and entertainments

How to Get Help

If you see signs of bipolar disorder in yourself or someone you know, it is vital that you seek professional medical help as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, and will probably make it worse.

Untreated bipolar disorder can cause significant problems at home, at work, and in social situations. Mania or depression can also be distressing and exhausting for family and friends.

Emergency Help for Bipolar Episodes:
Untreated bipolar disorder can also result in genuine emergencies. In cases of severe mania, a person can become hostile, and verbally or physically abusive, while people suffering from severe depression may start to think about killing themselves.

If you recognize signs of bipolar in someone you know, or in yourself, is very important to get medical help immediately, by contacting your doctor or the emergency services.

Help by Telephone for Bipolar Emergencies:
Volunteer groups who run suicide prevention services by telephone in many countries may also be able to help:

  • In the United States, you can telephone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at any time of day on 1-800-273-TALK.
  • In the UK and Ireland, the Samaritans group offer a 24-hour telephone service. Their telephone numbers are 08457 90 90 90 in the UK and Northern Ireland, and 1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland.

What Would You Like to Read Now After This Article on Bipolar Disorder Symptoms?

Recognizing Real Bipolar Symptoms: Cutting Through the Confusion about Signs of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Depression Symptoms List: Typical Manic and Depression Behavior Traits to Look for

12 Clinical Depression Symptoms and Psychological Depression Signs: Learn When and How to Act

Learn about the Physical Symptoms of Depression and the Emotional Depression Signs

Go to the top of this article about Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Go to the homepage What Is Depression

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