The main feature of bipolar symptoms is the occurrence of frequent mood swings. These mood swings can occur over a period of time.  Generally, one mood episode lasts from a few days to a month. The bipolar symptoms differ in accordance with the state that the person is experiencing. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the bipolar symptoms consist of the occurrence of a manic state and a mixed episode followed by a depression episode. There are several characteristic features and bipolar symptoms associated with each of these states.

 The manic state has a set of bipolar symptoms which are exhibited by the person when he is in a state of mania. This state is characterized by the feeling of excessive happiness and euphoria. During this state, the person tends to be highly optimistic and will have unrealistic beliefs about his capacity and his powers. In this state, other bipolar symptoms are also visible like hyperactivity, which causes the person to feel restless and the person is often seen losing sleep. There are other bipolar symptoms also which should be looked out for. The person generally tends to speak much faster and sometimes people might find it hard to understand and keep up with him.

The depression state also has a set of bipolar symptoms which are quite clear cut. The main difference between depression due to bi-polar disorder and normal depression is that, in bipolar depression, the low is generally followed by an emotional high. During this state, the person is always tired and shows signs of fatigue. The person tends to keep to himself and is rarely seen enjoying the things that would have given him pleasure when he/she is him/herself. The other major symptom is that the person loses or gains their appetite and this affects the weight of the person.

Psychosis is one of the bipolar symptoms where the person loses contact with reality completely. In this situation, the depression is so severe and intense that the person even considers suicide as an option. This is the extreme case and a lot of care has to be taken while dealing with such people with bipolar disorder.

The bipolar symptoms in children even though not very different are difficult to diagnose. The early onset bipolar disorder is often over looked by many psychiatrists. Several children who have bipolar disorders are often wrongly diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. This is because the guidelines for the diagnosis of the bipolar disorder are based on the typical adult symptoms. There is not much known about the major bipolar symptoms in children therefore, extreme care has to be taken by the psychiatrist when dealing with children.

Reference

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-index.shtml

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bipolar_disorder_symptoms_treatment.html