Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. The symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.  Like diabetes, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life. People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called “mood episodes”.  An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive state.  Sometimes a mood disorder includes symptoms of both mania and depression, in different degrees, called a mixed state.

Mood Changes – Manic Episode

  • A long period of feeling high or up
  • Overly happy or outgoing mood
  • Extremely irritable
  • Agitation
  • Jumpy or Wired

Behavioral Changes – Manic Episode

  • Talking very fast
  • Jumping from one idea to another
  • Racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted
  • Taking on excessive amount of new projects
  • Being restless and sleeping little
  • Having unrealistic belief in one’s abilities
  • Behaving impulsively
  • Exhibiting high-risk behaviors - spending sprees and impulsive business investments

Mood Changes – Depressive Episode

  • A long period of feeling worried or empty
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

Behavioral Changes – Depressive Disorder

  • Feeling tired or slowed down
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Changing eating or sleeping habits
  • Thinking of death or suicide

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