Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments

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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a mental condition that causes mood swings including emotional highs and lows. This disorder causes frequent changes in mood, energy levels, and even behavior. The cycles of bipolar disorder may extend to weeks and even months. Such episodes of mood swings may occur multiple times in a year. The mood shifts in bipolar disorder are so intense that they might affect a person’s ability to function. The first episode of this disorder occurs during teen days or when a person matures. The symptoms of this disease can affect a person’s job, relationships and disturb their daily life.

In this condition, when the patient becomes depressed, he or she may lose interest in most activities. While, when the mood shifts to mania, he may feel euphoric and full of energy. These mood swings may affect a person’s sleeping patterns, behavior, and thought process.

This disorder is a permanent condition, but one can manage mood swings and other symptoms by following a proposed treatment plan.

Sign and Symptoms of bipolar disorder

There are several types of bipolar disorders, which include mania, hypomania, and depression. These symptoms can cause unforeseeable changes in a person’s mood and behavior that are known as mood episodes. These episodes are different from the moods and behavior that are typical for a person. The symptoms of bipolar disorder look different in pattern, severity, and frequency. Some patients are prone to either mania or depression, while some alternate between the two types of these episodes. Some people may have mood disruptions, while some experience only some over a lifetime.

There are 4 types of mood disorders, mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. These symptoms differ from person to person and may vary over time.

Bipolar Mania:

In this situation, a person feels high on energy, creativity, and extremely happy. It is a condition in which a person may talk continuously, sleep a little and be hyperactive. This symptom may get out of control, as a person behaves recklessly, engages in sexual activity, and make inappropriate decisions.

Some of the common symptoms of bipolar mania are:

  • Feeling of unusual happiness or extreme irritability.
  • Feeling confident about one’s own abilities or power.
  • Sleeping less, and still feeling energetic.
  • A sudden change of thoughts or ideas.
  • Acting in impulse
  • Illusions and hallucinations
  • Poor decision-making habits
  • Distractions


Hypomania and mania are different types of episodes having the same symptoms. The former is less severe than mania, in which the symptoms do not impact a person’s daily life and do not include any psychotic symptoms.

When a person experiences a hypomanic mood episode, some of the symptoms need to be present at a significant level:

  • High self-esteem
  • No desire to sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Engaging in pleasurable activities that may cause harmful consequences.
  • Getting involved in goal-oriented activities
  • Distraction
  • Talking more under the pressure to talk more.

Patients who experience hypomanic episodes are diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, which is a serious mental condition that can cause major problems if left untreated. In such a situation, a person experiences a significant change that is unexpected of the person. He or she may feel more productive and amicable than they usually are.

A hypomanic episode brought about by the effects of a treatment or maybe a drug is not diagnosed, unless it persists beyond the physiological effects.

Bipolar depression:

Bipolar depression is often confused with regular depression, but research has shown that there are significant differences between the two. In this disorder, the manic episodes alternate with periods of emotional laws that are known as depressive episodes.  Most cases of bipolar depression are not treated with antidepressants. As they might make them worse by triggering mania or hypomania, which causes rapid shifts between different mood states.

This form of disorder causes irritability, unpredictable mood swings, and restlessness. There are chances that the affected person may develop psychotic depression; in which he or she may lose contact with reality and experience issues in work and social functioning.

The symptoms of bipolar depression include:

  • Sadness and anxiety
  • Feeling hopeless and worthless
  • Low on energy
  • Issues with memory and concentration
  • Changes in appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of libido

Bipolar mood swings:

Mood episodes in bipolar disorder may happen very often. Sometimes, one notices that certain activities may trigger mania or depression, like feeling less sleepy or changes in daily routine. Some patients experience seasonal patterns in their mood swings.

Patients suffering from such disorder should immediately speak to a doctor if they are facing mood swings that affect their lives as a whole.

Some of the symptoms that a person experiences in bipolar mood swing are mentioned below:

  • Extremely happy mood: In such situation, a person suffers from fluctuating episodes of mania and depression. In a manic phase, the patient loses touch from reality. While in hypomania, the person is in a high-energy state but does not lose his or her grasp on real life.
  • Inefficiency: This is one of the major symptoms of bipolar disorder in which a person can never complete the assigned tasks. People who can cope up with their energy in hypomanic disorder can be productive and deliver results.
  • Depression: A person suffering with bipolar depressive state looks as like somebody affected with regular depression. They face similar issues with energy, appetite and sleep. In such cases, antidepressant doesn’t work for people suffering from bipolar disorder.
  • Impatience: People in this condition suffer from mixed mania in which they suffer with symptoms of both mania and depression at single time. In this situation, they tend to feel irritated which can affect their relationships.

Treatment of Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder cannot be treated completely, but it can be taken care of. Some of the combination treatments work best for this, which includes:

  • Talk therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Medication management that includes the use of antidepressants and mood stabilizers

In case one notices symptoms of bipolar disorder in themselves or somebody else, waiting would be of no help. Ignoring the issue will not help in any way, instead will make it worse. If not taken proper treatment, then it may lead to several other problems that can affect a person’s health, relationship, and even career. Therefore, it is recommended to start the treatment as soon as possible.

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