Bipolar Symptoms and General Information.

Learn about bipolar symptoms:

Bipolar disorder causes drastic mood swings. From having excessive energy and/or getting easily irritated, to feelings of hopelessness and despair, and then back again.

Often people will have periods of a normal mood in between.

Severe changes in motivation and behavior go along with these changes in mood.

These periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression Sometimes, severe episodes of mania or depression include symptoms of psychosis (or psychotic features).

Common psychotic features such as hallucinations, (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of things not actually there)and delusions, (false, strongly held beliefs not influenced by logical reasoning or explained by a person’s usual cultural concepts) in bipolar disorder tend to reflect the extreme mood state at the time.

Delusions of grandiosity, such as believing one is the President or has special powers or wealth, may occur during mania.

Delusions of guilt or worthlessness, such as believing that one is ruined and penniless or has committed some terrible crime, may appear during depression.

People with bipolar disorder who have these symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as having schizophrenia, another severe mental illness.

Bipolar women are very susceptible to postnatal depression and bouts of the more extreme postnatal psychosis. One in 1,000 pregnancies in general leads to postnatal psychosis but the rate is one in five among women with bipolar.

Moderate depression, and then mild low mood, many people call “the blues” when it is short-lived, but is termed “dysthymia” when it is chronic.

Then there is normal or balanced mood.

In some people, symptoms of mania and depression may occur together in what is called a mixed bipolar state.

Bipolar symptoms in a mixed state often include agitation,trouble sleeping,significant change in appetite,psychosis,and suicidal thinking

A person may have a very sad, hopeless mood while at the same time feeling extremely energized.

Bipolar disorder may appear to be a problem other than mental illness. For instance, alcohol or drug abuse, poor school or work performance, or strained interpersonal relationships.

Such problems in fact may be signs of an underlying mood disorder.

Episodes of mania and depression typically recur across the life span. Between episodes, most people with bipolar disorder are free of symptoms, but as many as one-third of people have some residual bipolar symptoms.

The classic form of the illness, which involves recurrent episodes of mania and depression, is called bipolar i or

type 1 bipolar disorder

Some people, however, never develop severe mania but instead experience milder episodes of hypo mania that alternate with depression.

This form of the illness is called bipolar ii or Type 2 bipolar disorder

When four or more episodes of bipolar symptoms occur within a 12-month period, a person is said to have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

Some people experience multiple episodes within a single week, or even within a single day. Rapid cycling tends to develop later in the course of illness and is more common among women than among men.

People with bipolar disorder can lead healthy and productive lives when the illness is effectively treated. It is said that without treatment, however, the natural course of bipolar disorder tends to worsen.

Over time a person may suffer more frequent (rapid-cycling) and more severe manic and depressive episodes than those experienced when the illness first appeared.

But in most cases, proper treatment can help reduce bipolar symptoms,the frequency and severity of episodes, and can help people with bipolar symptoms maintain good quality of life.

Both children and adolescents can develop bipolar disorder. It is more likely to affect the children of parents who have the illness.

Unlike many adults with bipolar disorder, whose episodes tend to be more clearly defined, children and young adolescents with the illness often experience very fast mood swings between depression and mania many times within a day.

Children with mania are more likely to be irritable and prone to destructive tantrums than to be overly happy and elated. Mixed bipolar symptoms also are common in youths with bipolar disorder. Older adolescents who develop the illness may have more classic, adult-type episodes and bipolar symptoms.

For any illness, however, effective treatment depends on appropriate diagnosis. Children or adolescents with emotional and behavioral symptoms should be carefully evaluated by a mental health professional.

Any child or adolescent who has suicidal feelings, talks about suicide, or attempts suicide should be taken seriously and should receive immediate help from a mental health specialist.

Scientists are learning about the possible Causes of bipolar disorder through several kinds of studies.

People with bipolar disorder may need help, to get help.

Often people with bipolar disorder do not realize how impaired they are, or they blame their problems on some cause other than mental illness.

A person with bipolar disorder may need strong encouragement from family and friends to seek treatment. Family physicians can play an important role in providing referral to a mental health professional.

Sometimes a family member or friend may need to take the person with bipolar disorder for proper mental health evaluation and treatment.

Ongoing encouragement and support are needed after a person obtains treatment, because it may take a while to find the best treatment plan for each individual.

In some cases, individuals with bipolar disorder may agree, when the disorder is under good control, to a preferred course of action in the event of a future manic or depressive relapse.

Like other serious illnesses, bipolar disorder is also hard on spouses, family members, friends, and employers.

Family members of someone with bipolar disorder often have to cope with the person’s serious behavioral problems, such as wild spending sprees during mania or extreme withdrawal from others during depression, and the lasting consequences of these behaviors.

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