Bipolar disorder or manic depression causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior—from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.
Bipolar disorder varies among different people. The symptoms diverge extensively in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime. There are four types of mood occurrences in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms. Mania Symptoms
In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria are common. People experiencing a manic episode often talk a recklessly and profligately, scarcely sleep, and are hyperactive. They may also feel like they’re omnipotent, impregnable, or destined for prominence. Although mania inaugurates with delightful sensations, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People often behave uncontrollably during a manic episode: gambling away savings, engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or making irrational business investments, for example. They may also become angry, irritable, and aggressive—picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior. Some even become delusional or start hearing voices. Depression Symptoms
In the past, bipolar depression was amalgamated in with regular depression. But a mounting reservoir of research suggests that there are significant differences between the two, particularly when it comes to recommended treatments. Most people with bipolar depression are not helped by antidepressants. In fact, there is a risk that antidepressants can make bipolar disorder worse—triggering mania or hypomania, causing rapid cycling between mood states, or interfering with other mood stabilizing drugs. Despite many similarities, certain symptoms are more common in bipolar depression than in regular depression. For example, bipolar depression is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, unpredictable mood swings, and feelings of restlessness. People with bipolar depression also tend to move and speak slowly, sleep a lot, and gain weight. In addition, they are more likely to develop psychotic depression—a condition in which they’ve lost contact with reality—and to experience major disability in work and social functioning. TYPES
There are several types of bipolar disorder; all involve episodes of depression and mania to a degree. They include bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, mixed bipolar, and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Bipolar I
Raging bipolar (I) is characterized by at least one full-blown manic episode lasting at least one week or any duration if hospitalization is required. This may include inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, being more loquacious than usual, flight of ideas, distractibility, an increase in goal-oriented activity, and excessive involvement in hazardous activities. The symptoms are severe enough to disrupt the patient’s ability to work and socialize, and may require hospitalization to prevent harm to themselves or others. The patient may lose touch with reality to the point of being psychotic. The other option for raging bipolar is at least one “mixed” episode on the part of the patient. The DSM-IV is uncharacteristically vague as to what constitutes mixed, an accurate reflection of the confusion within the...
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