Bipolar Disorder


Moods usually swing from weeks of feeling overly “high” and irritable to weeks of feeling sad and hopeless with normal periods in between. Mood states are highly variable: Some people can spend months or even years in one episode.


During a manic phase, symptoms include:

  • Feelings of euphoria and elation or irritability and anger
  • Impulsive, high-risk behavior, including grand shopping sprees, drug and alcohol abuse and sexual promiscuity
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Increased energy and rapid speech
  • Fleeting, often grandiose ideas
  • Decreased sleep (typically the individual doesn’t feel tired after as few as three hours of sleep)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating; disorganized thoughts
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)


During a depressive phase, symptoms include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities; loss of energy (sometimes to the point of inability to get out of bed)
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Feelings of worthlessness and inappropriate guilt
  • Inability to concentrate or make a decision
  • Thoughts of death and suicide




The main method used to diagnose bipolar disorder is a thorough interview with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional.  Psychotherapy is a crucial component of long-term bipolar disorder management and medication is also sometimes helpful. Treatment can help a person with bipolar disorder avoid harmful consequences such as destruction of personal relationships, job loss, and suicide. 

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