There are many symptoms which may indicate a bipolar disorder diagnosis may be accurate, and the symptoms exhibited by the individual will also depend on whether they are in a depression stage or a mania stage of the disorder. Understanding the signs of depression and mania can help you determine whether someone you care about may need mental health treatment.
The symptoms of mania can include:
Feeling an artificial sense of euphoria or of being high
Feeling extremely irritable
Unrealistic beliefs about the ability that one has
Feeling extremely energetic
Needing very little sleep, sleeping a few hours and waking with a feeling of being rested and refreshed
Rapid speech and non stop talking at a fast pace
Thoughts which race, and which jump from one topic or subject to another very quickly
An inability to concentrate or focus
Risk taking and reckless actions without regard to the potential consequences
Being highly impulsive
During the depressive stage of bipolar disorder the following signs and symptoms may be seen:
Feelings of hopelessness and extreme sadness
A sensation of being empty
A lack of energy, a constant feeling of fatigue or exhaustion
Being unable to feel pleasure in activities and hobbies that are usually enjoyed
Feeling mentally sluggish
Difficulty moving, a sensation of physical heaviness
Changes in weight and appetite
Problems getting to sleep or sleeping through the night
Memory problems, difficulty with focus and concentration
Bipolar Disorder and depression are both mental disorders, and there are some similarities between the two forms of mental illness but there are also some very important differences as well. The first thing that a mental health professional will do is to ask about the symptoms that the patient has been experiencing, and this will help reach an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes depression can occur all alone, and at other times it is part of a larger disorder like bipolar disorder. Bipolar refers to two poles, and these individuals will experience stages of depression but also stages of mania which is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Someone who is bipolar will have periods when they have a lot of energy, they may feel like they only need a few hours sleep and then they wake up feeling rested, and they may engage in high risk behavior because of a sense of euphoria and an artificially high self esteem.
Only a qualified mental health professional can determine whether an individual has bipolar disorder or just depression, and the symptoms experienced may be different with each individual. Bipolar disorder means that the individual cycles between being depressed and being manic, and some are so called rapid cyclers who may enter each phase briefly before moving to the other stage. Some individuals may go weeks or even months being either depressed or manic. A mental health professional may nee to monitor the individual for some time to ensure an accurate diagnosis, otherwise the individual may be diagnosed and being depressed because the manic cycle did not occur during the diagnostic period.
A new medical study at Concordia University shows a link between parents who have bipolar disorder and risky sexual behaviors in their offspring. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder, and children whose parents have this condition have a higher risk of developing psychosocial behaviors. This is very evident when it comes to risky sexual practices and behaviors, and risk taking can be a symptom of bipolar disorder. Individuals with this condition tend to experience extreme emotional states, bouncing between extreme highs called mania and extreme lows which can lead to depression and despair.
According to Dr. Mark Ellenbogen, a psychology professor, “Risky sexual behavior falls along the spectrum of general externalizing behaviors, like delinquency and aggression. We know it is predicted by externalizing behaviors in middle childhood. In psychiatry, we tend to treat the patient — there’s never any evaluation of their family or kids or partners. Across my career, I’ve been saying that’s the wrong way of looking at the issues. The children of BD patients are at high risk of developing a number of psychiatric and psychosocial problems. We need to think about interventions that will work for all members of the family.”
Dr. Ellenbogen continued by saying “These parents need additional help in organizing family life, parenting, dealing with spouses, and coping with stress. The ultimate goal is to reduce the levels of stress in the family, which we believe will then reduce negative outcomes in their children.” The study results were published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
In a new scientific study that has been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders men and women are affected by Bipolar Disorder differently, and this may change the way that treatment for this disorder is provided. The symptoms experienced by each gender are different even though both are suffering from the same condition. Women tend to experience the down side of Bipolar Disorder and experience depression more frequently. Men typically head the other direction and often experience mania when they have Bipolar Disorder. These differences have been shown to extend the time required for an accurate diagnosis with women, and the female gender usually has a higher rate of suicide attempts as well. This may lead to treatments for this mental disorder that are gender specific and more effective at controlling the actual symptoms experienced.
The study included 629 women and 461 men who had been diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, and it was supervised by Dr. Jean-Michel Azorin who is a psychiatrist associated with Sainte Marguerite Hospital, Marseille in France. The male subjects of the study were affected by manic symptoms more often, and the female study subjects reported depression systems more often than symptoms of mania. In addition it was noted that men with the disorder were more likely to be single, to abuse alcohol and other substances more often, and were manic when they were diagnosed. This could affect the study results. If further studies confirm the findings then bipolar disorder treatment could be tailored to the individual and become more effective.
What is bipolar disorder? Does this condition make an individual more susceptible to substance abuse? Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that impacts mood and energy levels, and this condition can be very destructive and create numerous problems for those who suffer from it. Mood swings that are caused by bipolar disorder can be extreme, and the individual with this disorder may have sudden changes in mood that are very rapid. During the downward swing depression is a big component, and when the individual suffers from mania they are more likely to become engaged in certain criminal activity or make poor decisions and engage in risky behaviors. Without being properly diagnosed and treated many who suffer from this condition turn to drugs and alcohol in order to blunt the emotions that are felt at either end of the spectrum.
Someone who has a substance abuse problem and who has undiagnosed bipolar disorder will need to be dual diagnosed. Both of these components must be treated in order for the individual to get better and to lead a healthy life. Substance abuse often masks the symptoms of bipolar disorder and other forms of mental illness, and drugs or alcohol may mimic the symptoms of other conditions. Before a bipolar disorder diagnosis can be made the individual must be clean and sober so that the exact symptoms of the disease can be determined. Substance abuse may mask the symptoms of this condition but it can make the threat of suicide or violence a bigger threat as well. Without the right medications the severe mood swings will only continue or even worsen, and the individual could end up in the hospital or even in jail or prison due to reckless behavior and impulsive actions.