5 Symptoms of Bi-polar Disorder

Bi-polar disorder is very complex and misunderstood mental illness that is experienced by many across the world. Many people go undiagnosed because the symptoms can sometimes be a little tricky. We’ve done some research and compiled a list of the 5 most common symptoms of this type of disorder; to help shed a light and break the stigma behind this mental illness.

1. Mania

This symptom could be argued as being the key to diagnosing this kind of mental disorder. Mania can be mild or severe, and can cause other symptoms. Mania can involve feeling over happy for long periods of time, talking fast or having racing thoughts, being easily distracted, feeling restless, or engaging in what would be considered impulsive/risky behavior. This symptom can be more easily seen as a period of extreme highs, followed by a period of extreme lows. Mania can seem very mild in some people and very extreme in others, making it hard to sometimes diagnose.

2. Depression

The Mayo Clinic claims that someone who is bi-polar will have a number of depressive episodes “that are severe enough to cause noticeable difficulty in day-to-day activities.” This depression leaves sufferers feeling sad, hopeless, and irritable. They may also feel guilty and start losing any pleasure in things they used to like. Most people with this type of disorder are also diagnosed as clinically depressed. Thoughts of suicide are not uncommon among those with this type of disorder. Experts have found that there is a link between mania and depression; people who are bi-polar always seem to experience both. Mania and depression are the two biggest bi-polar disorder symptoms.

3. Sleep Problems

Experts aren’t really sure if it’s the mania or the depression that takes its toll on sleep, but most people who are bi-polar suffer from moderate to severe sleep issues. When someone suffers from severe mania, they may have sensations of “highs” that keep them from sleeping. Insomnia and feeling like you need significantly less sleep are both signs of this type of disorder. On the other hand, someone may not have severe mania but may suffer from severe depression and sleep way more than they should; so sleeping too much can also be a symptom. The severity of sleep issues vary by each individual.

4. Impulsive/Poor Decision Making

Impulsive behaviors go right along with the first mania symptom. Because those who are bi-polar suffer from manic episodes, they have sensations of exaggerated energy. This energy can be mentally turned into impulsive acts. Some sufferers may go on massive shopping sprees, make foolish investments, gamble, and even engage in risky sexual behavior. Because they’re minds are racing during manic episodes, they find distraction with extreme stimulation. Usually, poor decision making begins to affect the person’s personal and work life.

5. Appetite/Weight Changes

A common symptom among those who are bi-polar is appetite and weight fluctuations. Web MD states that people who are bi-polar experience “appetite changes that make them lose or gain weight” because when a person’s mood changes from high to low (manic to depressive), their appetite will change accordingly. During a manic episode someone may eat more because they are on a high, while someone may not want to eat at all during a depressive episode. Many people who are bi-polar suffer from being under- or over-weight.

If you think you or someone you know may suffer from any of these manic or depressive symptoms, it’s important to get help right away. When treated, bi-polar sufferers can experience completely normal, productive lives. The proper diagnosis can mean a world of difference for someone with bi-polar disorder.