Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Learn about the symptoms of bipolar disorder, including the symptoms of depression and mania.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

A person with bipolar disorder will experience different symptoms depending on whether he or she is in a manic phase or a depressed phase. In some rare cases, manic and depressed symptoms occur simultaneously. They can appear in quick succession in people with bipolar I disorder. This is called a mixed episode. Symptoms associated with the different aspects of bipolar include:

Mania Symptoms

A manic phase may last from days to months and is marked by elevated mood and poor impulse control. An individual might:

  • have increased energy
  • be unusually talkative
  • be hyperactive
  • have racing thoughts
  • be easily distracted
  • show irritability
  • have little need for sleep
  • express inflated self-esteem
  • have and share grandiose thoughts about one’s abilities

One of the most dangerous symptoms of mania is the practice of reckless behavior. This might include, for example:

  • unprotected sexual encounters
  • binge drinking or drug use
  • spending sprees
  • foolish business investments
  • making rash decisions that put themselves or others in danger

Depression Symptoms

A depression phase is characterized by:

  • sadness
  • uncontrollable crying
  • feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • excessive guilt
  • fatigue and listlessness
  • anxiety
  • sleep disturbances (either oversleeping or inability to sleep)
  • eating disturbances (eating either too much or too little)
  • loss of interest or enjoyment in activities one typically enjoys
  • withdrawal from friends and family

Suicidal Behavior

In bipolar disorder, suicide is a significant risk. Suicidal thoughts and attempts are more likely to happen during the depressed state. Other forms of self-harm such as cutting and self-mutilation also occur with bipolar disorder.

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