Bipolar Disorder: Recognize the symptoms of bipolarity to determine if your changing mood and sleep problems result from bipolar disorder.

What is bipolar disorder?

Two types of bipolar disorder are commonly diagnosed, a mental illness characterized by mood swings were periods of ups and downs alternate. People with bipolar disorder type 1 alternate episodes of deep depression and episodes of excessive joy – also called mania. Much more prevalent, type 2 bipolarity is an attenuated form of mania called hypomania. As the characteristics of bipolar disorder cover a spectrum ranging from nonexistent to extreme, and mood alterations may result from particular events and circumstances rather than mental illness, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder revealed Sometimes quite difficult.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar symptoms

1. Being depressed

A bipolar person in a depressed state will have the same symptoms as anyone living a depression. They have the same problems of energy, appetite, sleep, and concentration as any other person doing a good old depression. It is the period of mania, or elevation of the mood, succeeding the phase of depression which makes it possible to establish a diagnosis of bipolarity.

It is important to discuss fluctuations in the mood with your therapist because the treatment of depression differs from that of bipolar disorder. Antidepressants can be frankly dangerous for bipolar patients because they can make them switch to mania. The signs of depression are: feeling sad and despair stretching for a long time, away from family and friends, loss of interest in normally enjoyed activities, appetite disorders, Energy, slow speech, concentration problems, and recurring thoughts of death.

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2. Lack of sleep

It is common to go through periods of insomnia because of stress or in anticipation of an exciting event that is coming. But a bipolar person in a manic episode will sleep much less than usual (and sometimes not at all) for days and days without losing his energy. In the depressive phase, however, the person will sleep more than normal. Carrie Bearden, a professor of psychiatry, behavioral sciences, and psychology at UCLA, says one of her first recommendations to her bipolar patients is to adopt a regular sleep schedule.

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3. You are in a good mood – but then, really!

Who does not like being in a good mood? And, above all, who would see it as a sign of mental illness? “It is likely that the person enjoys these episodes because they allow him to increase his productivity and creativity beyond his usual level,” notes Dr. Smitha Murthy, a psychiatrist at the Seton Mind Institute in Austin, Texas.

But if this increase in mood is extreme, has no apparent reason, stretches over a week or more, or combines with other symptoms, then it may indicate a bipolar disorder. Hypomania, typical of bipolar disorder type 2,  even more, difficult to differentiate from a passing phase of a good mood because the symptoms are lighter. These episodes of good mood, associated with other symptoms of bipolarity, especially repetitive signs where they alternate with episodes of depression.

Bipolar Disorder

4. You are more irritable than usual

“This is one of the most misleading symptoms in that we faced with a reaction of frustration or injustice,” says James Phelps, director of the Mood Disorders Program at Samaritan Mental Health. Corvallis, Oregon, and co-author of a forthcoming book, Bipolar, Not So Much: Understanding Your Mood Swings and Depression (Bipolar, but not too much: understand your mood changes and depression). Being angry because someone you cut the road on the highway, for example, is quite normal. “But anger disproportionate to the situation, which rises too fast, uncontrolled, and lasts hours and moves from one person to another, could classify this type of behavior among bipolar disorders, “He adds.

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5. You speak and think very quickly

Chattering like a magpie is nothing unusual, Dr. Phelps jokes. “But speaking so fast that others have difficulty following or understanding, especially if it is in phase with other symptoms of bipolar disorder, may betray hypomania,” he continues. A person in a phase of mania might not even let others have the opportunity to place a word. This speech very fast is especially worrying in a person who does not speak like that usually. Debunking ideas and thoughts at such a pace that others – and even the one who utters them – are unable to follow can also indicate a manic state.

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6. You have great confidence in yourself – but make bad decisions

Normally, self-confidence is rather a good thing. But in a person with bipolar disorder, excessive trust can lead to bad decisions. “They feel very much above and do not take into account the consequences of their decisions; everything seems perfect, “says Dr. Malone. This may lead them to take reckless risks and adopt erratic behaviors that they would reject normally, such as having an extramarital affair or spending thousands of dollars that they do not have.

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