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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. Since there are two distinct extremes of this condition, there are also two different sets of signs and symptoms as they relate to each (mania or hypomania and major depressive). Bipolar disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences three or more symptoms in the mania or hypomania state and five or more symptoms from the major depressive state. The Mayo Clinic provides the following examples of signs and symptoms that can present with bipolar disorder:

  • 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 ideation
    • Lack of energy
    • Shift in appetite resulting in drastic weight loss or weight gain

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. Everyone is different and will experience a distinct combination of symptoms when it comes to both the mania stage and the depressive stage of bipolar disorder.

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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