Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

By: Patricia Reed

Everyone experiences mood highs and lows. It is just a normal part of life. For those suffering bipolar disorder disease these highs and lows can vary from one extreme to another. The very high and low mood swings can interupt a normal daily life and can become very dangerous. If the person feels depressed, no work gets done. The next day they have so much energy that they go into overdrive mode. Other people see this hyper energy as being reckless or uncontrolled.

People suffering from bipolar disease can be unpredictable and confusing. This is a chronic disease. If you suffer from it, do not be embarrassed about it. The problem can be managed effectively if you learn what it is all about and how you can look at yourself.

A person suffering from bipolar disorder experiences different modds within a normal period of time. Another term is manic depression. Bipolar means two poles of emotion at extreme ends of the sprectrum. Those affected will experience mood swings from very high to very low in quick succession or maybe in the span of one day depending on the severity of the affliction.

A good comparison to explain this would be the planet earth itself which has two poles - the North Pole and the South Pole. The manic phase or the extreme high would be the North Pole and the depression would be the South Pole. If either of these phases goes on for a certain amount of time, it is described as an episode. One must discuss these episodes in great depth with their healthcare provider.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are four types of episodes that are identified with bipolar disorder.

The first episode is Depression, where the person will beel sad for a very long time. Normal activities are difficult. Activities such as getting out of bed, eating or drinking and other normal daily activities. The second episode is Mania, where it starts with a laugh or feel good mood and the happy mood changes to irritable or angry. In this phase, it is easy to do things that are very risky. The third phase is Hypomania, which is a milder form of Mania. It begins with the person feeling fine and happy with things being done and it degenerates into depression at a very fast rate. The last episode is described as a Mixed Episode or mood.

These episodes are dangerous because the person is at risk of being suicidal. If there are more than four episodes of depression or mania within a year, then it is called rapid cycling. Symptoms for the two poles of bipolar depression differ from each other.

Under mania, the syptoms include more energy, less need for sleep, a restless mind, quick to get distracted, racing thoughts and very talkative and confident, but not much work gets done despite better concentration. Overall this is more risky than if things appear to be going badly.

When depressed, the person feels, loses interest in normal things, feels guilty about small things. They get a feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. They feel blue and will either sleep a lot or not enough. There will be a weight change, up or down and a feeling of being tired all the time. They also have problems making decisions, concentrating on a particular job and may have excess energy or restlessness.

Certain things trigger mood swings and one must be aware of what causes them. More often than not, the triggering factos are events that have occurred in the person's life.

Today there are treatments available for bipolar disorder that make is easier to control the disease. They are available by talking with your health care provider so that you can work out a plan to stabilize your mood swings and live a normal healthy live.

Psychology
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