Bipolar disorder is a condition which is characterized by changing moods of extreme energy and depression. Persons with this disorder do not easily recognize that they are having a psychiatric illness. Most often, it may be believed that they are poor performers or that they are indulging in substance abuse.

It is important that when these individuals show signs of bipolar disorder, an early diagnosis is sought and they are given treatment and care that will alleviate their condition.An easily seen symptom in bipolar disorder is the manic state. Among the best known signs of bipolar disorder, this typically features an elevated mood in a person, lack of concentration, excessive talking, impulsive actions and decision making, larger than life perceptions about oneself or one’s abilities. The manic episode may begin with a feeling of ‘high’ which may prove addictive.

The early state of mania before a full blown manic episode occurs is called hypomania. The moods may last for a week or longer periods and significantly affect their ability to perform their daily activities. The manic phase may be followed by a depressive phase immediately after or following a normal mood phase. In the manic phase, hallucinations and delusions may occur wherein the individual hears and sees things that are non- existent.

People with bipolar disorder tend to move and speak slowly, sleep a lot and gain weight. There may also be extreme fatigue and loss of energy and exhaustion experienced by these individuals. There are also feelings of guilt, restlessness and irritability with no real reason that they can grasp. They are also likely to develop psychosis. This may result in a loss of touch with reality resulting in impairment of their daily activities.The typical signs of bipolar disorder in the depressive phase are loss of interest in day to day activities, inability to feel joy, feelings of low self-worth and guilt, noted changes in appetite and sleep. There will also be a sense of extreme ‘sadness’ or ‘emptiness’.

There is also a loss of appetite and disturbances in sleep and feelings of tiredness and a sense of ‘heaviness’. The mood must be present persistently for a week and significantly impair the daily activities of the individual.The individual will withdraw socially and may cry easily. He or she may talk incessantly in a manner where others cannot understand or find coherence in the ideas he or she expresses. There may also be a problem with recalling or focusing on small details. There is no fixed time period for which the person may experience these symptoms.

The beginning of bipolar disorder may be characterized by either a manic or depressive state and the onset is generally during early adulthood. It is essential that these individuals receive care and appropriate medication in order to have an early diagnosis of this disorder to prevent further deterioration of the patient’s condition. Earlier, bipolar depression was clubbed with regular depression. However, research has proven that the two are significantly different. The signs of bipolar disorder are clearly different from that of regular depression. Their treatment regimes are also significantly different.

Sources:

1)http://symptomofbipolardisorder.net/

2)Textbook of Abnormal Psychology- Carson, Bucher and Mineka.