Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes severe mood swings. This disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder, and can affect men and women of all ages. People who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder often experience extreme shifts in mood, vacillating between periods of depression as and feelings of euphoria. This disorder can be very disruptive and makes it extremely difficult for the sufferer to enjoy a balanced lifestyle. Fortunately, bipolar disorder can be controlled with a combination of prescription medication and psychotherapy.

If you think you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of bipolar disorder, set up a consultation with a psychotherapist in your area.  A professional and experienced psychotherapist can conduct a comprehensive mental health evaluation and create a treatment plan that will make it easier to get through each day without extreme shifts in mood.

Classifications of Bipolar Disorder

Researchers and medical professionals have classified bipolar disorder into several subtypes. Each subtype has its own set of noticeable symptoms, but it can be difficult to tell which type an individual falls in to based on symptoms alone. A psychotherapist will need to analyze the individual’s behavior patterns over a certain period of time to determine the specific type of bipolar disorder the individual has.

The different types of bipolar disorder are:

  • Bipolar I disorder – the individual experiences severe mood swings and has difficulty finding and maintaining a job, keeping up with school and studies, or building and maintaining healthy relationships. Sufferers may also experience cyclical episodes of full-blown mania and severe depression.
  • Bipolar II disorder – less severe than Bipolar I but common symptoms include an elevated mood, sudden mood changes and less-severe forms of mania.
  • Cyclothymia – a milder form of bipolar disorder where the cycles of hypomania and depression are not as severe

Range of Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Since bipolar disorder symptoms can be so extreme, sufferers may experience several different and mood states over the course of a day, a week or a month depending on the severity of their condition. Those who have had bipolar disorder for years without any psychotherapy intervention may experience more intense and consistent mood swings than those who are undergoing counseling or taking certain medications.

Symptoms of depression and hypomania typically occur separately, but some people do experience “mixed episodes” when they have both at the same time.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder on the depressive side include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Chronic pain
  • Problems concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Low appetite or an increased appetite
  • Poor performance at work or at school

Symptoms of bipolar disorder on the euphoric side, or “manic phase” include:

  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Extreme optimism
  • Increased physical activity
  • Increased sex drive
  • Increased drive to achieve goals
  • Spending sprees
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Delusions
  • Frequent absences from work or school
  • Risky behavior, including reckless use of drugs or alcohol
  • Poor judgment
  • Rapid speech

Get in touch with a psychotherapist if you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of bipolar disorder. A professional psychotherapist can help to determine the type of disorder you or the individual has, and develop a treatment plan that will keep the disorder under control.