What is Bipolar Disorder & Bipolar Signs and Symptoms?

All too often, the term "bipolar" is used in pop culture and conversationally to refer to someone who can have a bit of an unbalanced personality or is indecisive. However, this flippant way of speaking about bipolar disorder does a disservice to what is a very serious brain disorder.

What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that can lead to drastic shifts in personality and energy levels, impeding the ability to perform basic daily tasks. Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder consists of a person going from a period of feeling up and active to a period of depression and lethargy.

The Four Types of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder does not impact each individual in the same way, with experts defining four main types of bipolar disorder. These four types of bipolar disorder are bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder and a final category for all other types of bipolar disorder.


  • Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is the most explosive of all of the different types of bipolar disorders. Those with bipolar I disorder are prone to manic stretches that last over a week, with the symptoms being so severe that they can often require hospitalization. The depressive state that often follows can last upwards of two weeks, with the depressive episodes sometimes exhibiting symptoms of a manic episode as well.


  • Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II disorder is the less severe version of bipolar I. Bipolar II has the same struggles depression and manic episodes, but they are not as dramatic as bipolar I. This is especially true of the hypomanic episodes, as they rarely require hospital care.


  • Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, also known as cyclothymia, consists of many periods of manic symptoms as well as depressive periods lasting for over 2 years. While the symptoms are severe, they do not meet the requirements that have been set to be qualified as a hypomanic episode or depressive episode.

Other Bipolar and Related Disorders
Since the range of symptoms for bipolar disorder is so broad, this fourth category was necessary for other specified or unspecified bipolar disorders. This is for those with symptoms of bipolar disorder that cannot be put into either of the three previous categories.

Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms
The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder is periods of abnormally magnified emotions and energy levels, leading to irregular sleep patterns and behavior. More specifically, these periods are referred to as manic episodes and depressive episodes.


  • Symptoms of a Manic Episode

During a manic episode, someone with bipolar disorder will have an enormous amount of energy and activity levels. This will lead to feeling wired and having difficulty falling asleep at night. Feeling up all of the time can make someone feel easily agitated and irritable and lead to risky behavior and lapses in judgement.


  • Symptoms of a Depressive Episode

The symptoms of a depressive episode for those with bipolar disorder is very similar to someone diagnosed with depression. It is characterized by intense feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness. This will show in lethargy, with those in a depressive state often refusing to get out of bed. Depression saps the happiness out of the individual, leaving them feeling like they cannot enjoy anything, including food or sleep. Sometimes depressive episodes can lead to difficulty focusing, forgetfulness and suicidal thought.

Get Bipolar Disorder Treatment at Affinity Treatment Centers, California
Affinity Treatment Center in Vista is dedicated to helping those with mental illness and brain disorders live a happy and hopeful life. If you suffer from bipolar disorder and are seeking help and treatment, please contact us by giving us a call at (760) 917-1112. Our mental health professionals are dedicated to giving you the help you need.