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What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
The symptoms of bipolar disorder vary from patient to patient, but there are certain symptoms that are more common. Understanding the symptoms and seeking treatment when they exist is essential to successful treatment long-term. If you or a loved one experiences symptoms, consult with a licensed psychiatrist to learn about treatment options.
Common symptoms of bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder involves a change in mood. The two main types of episodes are mania and depression. The following is a review of the common symptoms associated with mania and depression, in addition to the psychotic symptoms some patients experience in more severe cases.
Symptoms of mania
Mania is an episode that often occurs with most types of bipolar disorder. It is a more severe form of hypomania, and the symptoms include:
- Feeling excited and upbeat
- Increased energy and movement
- A euphoric, self-confident feeling
- Talkative and thoughtful
- Change in behavior
Many with bipolar disorder have many new ideas and thoughts, although the thoughts often change frequently. They may also make poor decisions, such as going on a buying spree and making ill-advised investments. The severity varies, and the amount of time bipolar patients remain in the manic state varies as well.
Symptoms of depression
The opposite end of a manic state is depression, which is also common among patients with bipolar disorder. Common symptoms of depression include but are not limited to:
- Feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Loss of interest and lack of pleasure
- Decreased concentration and motivation
- Reduced energy and fatigue
- Inability to sleep
Many patients with depression due to bipolar disorder also experience suicidal thoughts, particularly during more severe episodes. As with a manic state, the level of severity and the length of time the patient remains in a depressed state varies.
Psychotic symptoms do not always occur in patients that have bipolar disorder. However, they can occur in more severe cases. The two main psychotic symptoms of note are hallucinations and delusional thoughts. Often, psychotic symptoms reflect the current mood of the patient. If they are in a manic state, they may have delusional thoughts such as being able to fly, whereas a patient in a depressed state may focus on negative components (real or not real) in their life.
When to seek treatment
If you or a loved one experiences severe mood swings and multiple symptoms of bipolar disorder exist, then it is important to visit a psychiatrist to receive an accurate diagnosis and to learn about treatment options. Many patients find quick and long-lasting relief from bipolar disorder through treatment, but it starts with seeking professional help from a licensed and experienced psychiatrist.
Bipolar disorder FAQs
It is helpful to learn more information about bipolar disorder and how it is diagnosed and treated. The following are three common questions that patients have about bipolar disorder and answers from a licensed mental health professional.
What are the different types of bipolar disorder?
There are several different types of bipolar disorder. It requires a much more extensive explanation to fully understand the differences with each type, and it can help to discuss them with your mental health professional. However, in general, individuals with bipolar I usually experience more states of mania and may have infrequent depressive episodes. Bipolar II usually includes both frequent manic states as well as depressed states.
What can I expect during the first visit with a mental health professional?
Diagnostic tests are usually performed on the first visit with a mental health professional to determine if the symptoms are due to bipolar disorder or another condition such as depression (see below). The mental health professional and the patient can also discuss symptoms in greater detail and treatment goals. Lastly, they can put together a long-term treatment plan and strategy.
What is the difference between depression and bipolar disorder?
The main difference between depression and bipolar disorder is that bipolar disorder includes manic episodes. Depression is most often a major part of bipolar disorder, and patients typically go in and out of episodes of depression as well as manic episodes. Depression simply refers to the symptoms when the patient is in a stage where they feel down and sad (among other symptoms).
Talk to an experienced psychiatrist about bipolar disorder
Are you or a loved one experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms of bipolar disorder? If so, contact us by phone or email today. We take pride in helping our patients deal with their bipolar disorder and related symptoms long-term so that they can live a healthy life without symptoms controlling them daily.
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