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Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder or manic depression, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health illness. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is characterized by noticeable, unprovoked, sometimes extreme, changes in mood and behavior, that typically present as severe episodic mood swings, shifting between emotional highs (manias) to emotional lows (depressions) with intervals of stable moods. Medical News Today explains that the symptoms of bipolar disorder can affect a person’s energy levels, activity, social network, financial situation, sleep, behaviors, judgment, and family life. While there are many possible signs and symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, the seven most widely known warning signs of this disease include: restlessness, irritability, impulsive behavior, changes in sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, withdrawal from friends and family, and suicidal thoughts. The cause of bipolar disorder can be attributed to risk factors such as genetics and imbalanced brain chemicals. Bipolar disorder can develop at any age, but it is most diagnosed in individuals younger than age twenty-five.

Signs and Symptoms 

According to the diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-5, bipolar disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences three or more manic symptoms and five or more depressive symptoms. Examples of signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder could include, but are not limited to any combination of the following, provided by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Signs and symptoms during a mania or hypomania state:
      • Increased energy
      • Euphoria
      • Agitation
      • Easily distractible
      • Decreased need for sleep
      • Excessive talkativeness
      • Lack of judgment
      • Atypically upbeat
      • Difficulties at work
      • Shift in social activities
      • Psychosis
      • Relationship challenges
  • Signs and symptoms of a major depressive episode:
  • Inability to experience pleasure or loss of interest in social activities
  • Irritability
  • Crying spells (frequent and random crying throughout the day)
  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Shift in sleeping habits (either sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia)
  • Slowed behavior
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of excessive guilt
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Indecisiveness
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Lack of energy
  • Shift in appetite resulting in drastic weight loss or weight gain

Every individual is different and will experience a distinct combination of symptoms, with varying levels of severity and duration. 

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


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