Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive disorder, is a mental illness characterized by a constant swinging between mania and depression. Unlike the normal mood shifts that would normally happen, patients of bipolar disorder experience periods of intense mania and others of extreme depression. Both the manic and depressive episodes can either be brief, lasting for a few hours, or they could last for a few days or weeks. Bipolar disorder affects 2.8% of adults in the United States with an average age of 25 years old at which the symptoms of the disorder begin to appear.
The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder vary between each person. There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms. Some patients are more prone to depressive episodes and some to manic episodes, while others equally alternate between the depressive and manic episodes.
Symptoms of a manic episode include:
• Feeling extremely elated and optimistic
• Sleeping very little and feeling energetic
• Impulsivity and impaired judgment
• Feeling a lot more self-confident than the usual
Symptoms of a depressive episode include:
• Loss of interest in things and inability to experience pleasure
• Feeling hopeless and extremely sad
• Loss of energy
• Restlessness and agitation
• Suicidal thoughts