Symptoms of Bi-polar Disorders – What to Look For

The idea that someone could have severe mood swings that they can not control is something that seems almost impossible to most of us. While we may have had times in our lives when it seemed like we couldn’t control our feelings and emotions, we could always control the way that we express them in public. However, for a portion of the population, their brain chemistry just simply can not adjust for changes in moods as the rest of us can. These people are often diagnosed as being bi-polar.

What is Bi-Polar Disorder?

Bi-polar disorder may be categorized as more of a physical disease than a mental one, though it does produce mental symptoms. When the chemicals and chemical production in the brain is not normal and balanced, the person affected can experience a number of symptoms and showcase a variety of symptoms.

Diagnosed by a psychologist, many people that are affected by bi-polar disorder don’t know that they have it. While they might notice that they have frequent swings in their moods, this may seem completely normal to them – and with good reason. Many cases of bi-polar disorder are seen as being hereditary in nature, with more than one person in a family exhibiting the same symptoms and characteristics.

Spotting the Ups and Downs of Bi-Polar Disorder

If you have a friend that you are worried about or you think that you might be affected by bi-polar disorder, you might want to start looking for these common signs and signals that might alert you to the true cause of their moody swings.

What you might want to realize is the bi-polar disorder is characterized by two distinct patterns of mood – manic and depressive (hence why this condition used to be called manic depressive disorder). In the manic mood, the patient is in a euphoric state, showcasing these symptoms:

  • Increased energy
  • Little sleep is necessary
  • Poor judgment
  • Restlessness
  • Extreme irritability
  • Racing thoughts
  • Talking very fast
  • Jumps from one idea to another
  • Can’t concentrate
  • Shopping sprees
  • A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
  • Increased sexual activity
  • Abuse of drugs to sedate one’s self
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Denial

Most therapist define manic behavior as lasting for at least one week for the entire time length of the days and with three or so of the above symptoms. If the person is experiencing irritability, then more symptoms need to be a part of the diagnosis.

When the bi-polar patient is depressed, they might experience these symptoms:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Decreased energy
  • Problems related to concentrating and learning
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Change in appetite
  • Chronic pain
  • Physical symptoms without injury or cause
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

These depressive symptoms must last for two weeks or more to be considered a part of the final diagnosis.

The trick with bi-polar disorder is that their moods can change so dramatically that they are hard to predict and to control. In addition, sometimes bi-polar disorder can manifest itself as anger and aggression which can lead to more severe outcomes for the patient and those around them.

What You Can Do

If you feel that you know someone that exhibits these symptoms, you might want to talk to them about getting help. When they are an immediate danger to themselves or to others, call emergency services to take them out of their current situation and get them into a place where they can be safe.