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

The manic state has a set of bi-polar symptoms which are exhibited by the person when he is in the 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 bi-polar symptoms are also visible like hyperactivity, which causes the person to feel restless and the person is often seen losing sleep. There are other bi-polar symptoms too which should be looked out for. The person generally tends to speak much faster and some times people might find it hard to keep up with him.

The depression state also has a set of bi-polar symptoms which are quite clear cut. The main difference between the depression due to bi-polar disorder and the normal depression is that, in the bi-polar 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 is himself. The other major symptom is that the person loses or gains appetite and this affects the weight of the person.

Psychosis is one of the bi-polar 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.

The bi-polar 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 disorder 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 bi-polar symptoms in children and hence 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