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Links to our Bipolar Support Group & Information

Bipolar Disorder Manic Depression Support

Bipolar Disorder, Manic Depression Symptoms


Bipolar Disorder involves cycles of depression and mania.  Bipolar Disorder is also confused with other disorders when being diagnosed because symptoms of Bipolar can vary in severity for different people and episodes.  A proper and thorough diagnosis by a professional in the field is essential so ensure proper treatment.

Bipolar Disorder can cause a lot of stress for the survivor of this disorder because the person suffering from this sometimes devastating and mentally-crippling illness can go from a "manic" state to a "depressive" state without warning.  It is hard to diagnose someone with Bipolar Disorder and is sometimes diagnosed as Depression instead of Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depressive Illness because when a person is experiencing "Mania" in a lot of cases, they do not feel they have a problem because they feel "high" and sometimes feel they are invincible.  When they start experiencing depression for no obvious reason, they tend to want to seek help.

Some people describe the various mood states of Manic Depression or Bipolar Disorder as sometimes very happy, then very sad, and sometimes very angry without warning.  It may be helpful to think of the various mood states in manic-depressive illness as a spectrum or continuous range. At one end is severe depression, which shades into moderate depression; then come mild and brief mood disturbances that a lot of people would refer to as "the blues," then normal mood, then a mild form of mania, also called "hypomania," and then mania.

There are some people that have gone untreated for Bipolar Disorder and have repeated severe depressions and only have an occasional episode of hypomania.  Some doctors refer to this as Bipolar II.  In the other extreme, mania may be the main problem and depression may occur only occasionally.  Symptoms of mania and depression may also be mixed together in a single mixed bipolar state. Some have experienced episodes of severe depression or mania that have been accompanied by periods of psychosis.

Psychotic symptoms include:

  • hallucinations (Hearing and/or seeing things that aren't there.)
  • delusions (A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence.)
  The severity of the psychotic symptoms associated with Bipolar Disorder can sometimes reflect the mood state at that particular time.

Bipolar Disorder can often go unrecognized by the survivor of this disorder, relatives, friends, and even their doctors.  One of the early signs of Bipolar Disorder can be hypomania, a state in which the person with Bipolar can show a high level of energy, and/or excessive mood swings and irritability.  Other signs are impulsiveness and/or reckless behavior, and even if a family member, friend, spouse, or co-worker sees what is happening, the person suffering the symptoms will deny they have a problem.

In the early stages of Bipolar Disorder, it may seem as though the survivor has a problem other than a mental disorder.  Bipolar can sometimes be start as alcohol or drug abuse, or the person will have poor grades in school and poor work performance, and even switch jobs a lot, skip a lot of work etc.  If gone untreated, Bipolar Disorder can and usually does worsen and the survivor of this mentally-crippling disorder can experience severe mania and clinical depression.


    Signs and symptoms of mania include periods of:

  • Increased energy
  • Increased activity
  • Racing thoughts
  • Restlessness
  • Talking rapidly
  • Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
  • Excessive "high" or euphoric feelings
  • Extreme irritability and easily distracted
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Uncharacteristically poor judgment
  • A sustained period of behavior that is different from usual
  • Increased sexual drive
  • Drug abuse
  • Provoke arguments
  • Showing aggressive behavior
  • Very intrusive
  • Denial that anything is wrong

 

    Signs and symptoms of depression include periods of:

  • Repeated sadness
  • Thoughts of death
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Suicide attempts
  • Severe anxiety
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Only seeing the worst of every situation
  • Feelings of constant guilt
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities, including sex
  • Decreased energy
  • Feelings of fatigue 
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Sleeping all the time or not sleeping at all
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Body pain not associated with a physical disease
Descriptions provided by patients themselves offer valuable insights into the various mood states associated with bipolar disorder

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