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What is Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a mental condition. Those diagnosed often experience drastic shifts in their mood, emotions, & energy levels. These levels transition from extreme high levels to extreme low levels & vice versa over a period of hours to days to weeks, to months. During these periods, the symptoms experienced by those dealing with the disorder can be confuse both the person with the illness and friends and family of the person. Below lists, some of the main symptoms to watch for if you or someone you know could potentially be dealing with an undiagnosed case of bipolar disorder. Also if they are diagnosed and experiencing symptoms. These symptoms often are typically noticed & diagnosed in the late teens/early adulthood. 

Symptoms & Warning Signs of Bipolar Disorder 

Low Periods:

  • Dejected Mood: This includes feeling empty, hopeless, or sad about the current state of things. This can also lead to a lack of the will or energy to accomplish certain tasks.
  • Drastic Changes in Appetite: In some, this manifests itself as not eating enough. In others it leads to overeating. This in turn leads to a noticeable gain or loss in weight. This can exacerbate symptoms by reducing self esteem. 
  • Concentration & Sleep Issues: Sleeping issues are similar to change in appetite and can manifest as either an overabundance or severe lack of sleep. Concentration issues also appear common during low and high periods. The person may have issues focusing on tasks or even paying attention to normal activities.   
  • Suicidal/Negative Thoughts: Times when the person can have thoughts about harming themselves during low periods. Sometimes the thoughts can be so strong that suicide even becomes a viable option. 

High Periods:

  • Energetic Mood: Feeling extremely high up, happy, optimistic , and inflated self esteem.
  • Rapid & disoriented speech: Characterized as abnormal communication patterns, where speech and communication come across as strange to the perceptions of normal standards. 
  • Over confidence and poor decision Making: When someone is going through a manic period irrational confidence can come into play. This can lead to taking on too many tasks at once, and thinking that they can do things that are not feasible. Poor decision making also leads to overindulgence of things that might give them pleasure such as drinking, drugs, or eating.  The person typically does not consider the results of the poor decisions that they’ve made. 
  • Delusions of Grandeur: Acting or engaging in thoughts or beliefs that contradict reality. Examples of this include: a person thinking that they can do anything & are invincible. 

Many of these symptoms might seem like positive ones, however those dealing with Bipolar Disorder tend to have a normal operating baseline, when they are going through a manic episode the symptoms are usually taken to a potentially dangerous extreme. 

There are a few main types of Bi-Polar disorder:

Bipolar I

Those experiencing Bipolar I tend to experience Manic episodes for an extended period of time(>=1 weeks). This can often lead to the person needing to be hospitalized. As is characteristic with Bipolar disorder, the person can also experience extreme lows for a similar amount of time(>1week). This is the most severe form of the illness and is the one that leads to the most frequent hospitalizations. 

Bipolar II

Bipolar II symptoms are not as severe as Bipolar I. However they do still experience highs and lows associated with the disorder. Those dealing with Bipolar II will typically deal with hypomania(a less intense period of Mania than Bipolar I) that can span anywhere from 4 days to multiple weeks. 

Cyclomathia

Those experiencing cyclomathia will experience cycling of high periods and low periods similar to someone with Bipolar II, however the periods last significantly longer than both I & II. Cycles can last 2 years or even longer in certain cases. 

If you or someone you know may potentially be dealing with an undiagnosed case, it is important to seek out a treatment plan. This process will typically start with your family health care provider. 

If you or someone you know are currently going through a crisis and need immediate help, please call the National Suicide prvention lifeline 1(800)-273-8255. 

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder

The Information above contains excerpts from the above websites.  

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