Symptoms of bipolar disorder

Signs and symptoms of mania include:

  • Abnormally “high”, euphoric mood  
  • Extreme irritability/agitation  
  • Anger and/or aggression  
  • Increased energy, activity and restlessness  
  • Inflated self esteem and self confidence, feeling superior to others  
  • Decreased need for sleep  
  • More talkative than usual and talking rapidly and loudly  
  • Racing thoughts or jumping from one idea to another making it difficult for others to follow  
  • Distractibility and difficulty concentrating  
  • Increase in goal-directed activity  
  • Poor judgement  
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that can have painful consequences (such as spending sprees or sexual indiscretions)  
  • Abuse of drugs and alcohol  
  • Denial that anything is wrong

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Intense sadness  
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed  
  • Feelings of guilt, despair and worthlessness  
  • Sleeping too much or struggling to sleep (hypersomnia or insomnia)  
  • Loss of energy  
  • Change in appetite leading to weight loss or weight gain  
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering  
  • Restlessness or irritability  
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Some people may have psychotic symptoms during severe episodes of mania and depression. Common symptoms are delusions (false, strongly held beliefs that are not influenced by logical reasoning) and hallucinations (hearing, seeing or otherwise sensing things that are not there). These symptoms tend to reflect the mood state at the time. For example, during a manic phase a person may believe that he is the president or has special powers. Delusions of guilt or worthlessness may appear during depression.

A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. The symptoms are similar to mania but less severe and psychotic symptoms are not present. There is also less overall impairment of functioning and hospitalisation is usually not needed. It may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. If left untreated, hypomania may become severe mania or can switch into depression.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Dave R. Roger, M.D.