Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy, and behavior. It is a complex disorder that can manifest in different ways, and it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in order to seek help early. The most common signs of bipolar disorder are feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable most of the time; lack of energy; difficulty concentrating and remembering things; loss of interest in daily activities; feeling empty or worthless; feelings of guilt and despair; feeling pessimistic about everything; self-doubt; and changes in sleep patterns and appetite. Mania and hypomania are two different types of episodes, but they have the same symptoms.
Mania is more severe than hypomania and causes more noticeable problems at work, school, and social activities, as well as difficulties in relationships. Mania can also trigger a break with reality (psychosis) and require hospitalization. During a manic phase, people with bipolar disorder may feel more efficient with their extra energy and a lower need for sleep. However, the crash is inevitable, resulting in a depression that negates the superman effect. Psychotic symptoms in bipolar disorder may reflect your mood.
For example, if you have a manic episode, you may believe that you have special powers or that you are being monitored by the government. If you have a depressive episode, you may feel very guilty about something you think you have done or feel that you are worse than others or that you don't exist. These symptoms may occur before or after a hypomanic episode in bipolar II disorder. A person with cyclothymic disorder will have had symptoms of hypomania and episodes of depression for at least two years, or one year for children and teens. On the other hand, during depressive episodes, people with bipolar disorder may sleep for long periods without being able to get out of bed for a few days. If you or a loved one has any of these warning signs of bipolar disorder, it's important to seek help right away.
Mental health providers use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose the type of bipolar disorder a person may be experiencing. Significant changes in both appetite (and weight) and sleep patterns, regardless of how they manifest, may indicate a depressive cycle of bipolar disorder. Other possible diagnoses besides bipolar disorder that should be considered in the context of symptoms such as these include unipolar (major) depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, adjustment disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD).The severity of the depressive and manic phases may differ from person to person and in the same person at different times. While manic episodes of bipolar I disorder can be serious and dangerous, people with bipolar II disorder may be depressed for longer periods which can cause significant deterioration. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder and seek early intervention. If you recognize any of these warning signs in yourself or someone else, it is important to seek help right away.