What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
Bipolar disorder is so much confused with depression, which creates lot of problems for the patient.
That is why everyone who feels depression should seek the help of a professional who will do the right diagnosis and give the accurate treatment.
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Symptoms and signs of bipolar disorder:
Great mood
Bipolar disorder is characterized by up-and-down episodes of mania and depression. During a manic phase, some patients can have a total break from reality.
But hypomania, which is also a symptom of the disorder, is a high-energy state in which a person feels exuberant but hasn’t lost his or her grip on reality.

Inability to complete tasks
Having a house full of half-completed projects is a hallmark of bipolar disorder. People who can harness their energy when they are in a hypomanic phase can be really productive.
Those who can’t often go from task to task, planning grand, unrealistic projects that are never finished before moving on to something else.

Depression
A person who is in a bipolar depressive state is going to look just like someone who has regular depression. “They have the same problems with energy, appetite, sleep, and focus as others who have ‘plain old depression,'” Dr. Malone says.
Unfortunately, typical antidepressants alone don’t work well in patients who are bipolar. They can even make people cycle more frequently, worsening their condition, or send someone into a break-with-reality episode.

Irritability
Some people with this condition suffer from “mixed mania,” where they experience symptoms of mania and depression at the same time. During this state, they are often extremely irritable.
Everyone has bad days, which is one reason this kind of bipolarity is much harder to recognize.

Rapid speech
Some people are naturally talkative; we all know a motor mouth or Chatty Cathy. But “pressured speech” is one of the most common symptoms of bipolar disorder.
This kind of speech occurs when someone is really not in a two-way conversation. The person will talk rapidly and if you try to speak, they will likely just talk over you.

Trouble at work
People with this disorder often have difficulty in the workplace because so many of their symptoms can interfere with their ability to show up for work, do their job, and interact productively with others.

Erratic behavior
When they are in a manic phase, people with bipolar disorder can have an inflated self-esteem.
“They feel grandiose and don’t consider consequences; everything sounds good to them,”

Alcohol or drug abuse
Many people will drink when they are in a manic phase to slow themselves down, and use alcohol to improve their mood when they are depressed.

Sleep problems
People with this condition often have sleep problems. During a depression phase, they may sleep too much, and feel tired all the time.
During a manic phase, they may not sleep enough—but still never feel tired.
Even with just a few hours of sleep each night, they may feel great and have lots of energy.

Flight of ideas
This symptom may be something that is hard to recognize, but it occurs frequently when someone is in a manic phase. People feel like their mind is racing and that they can’t control or slow down their thoughts.
This flight of ideas sometimes occurs with pressured speech.
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