Learn about the signs, symptoms and causes of bipolar disorder.
Types of bipolar disorder
Developing targeted treatments for the different types of bipolar is essential, to address episode management and patient support. A better understanding is a great first step towards getting help. Your doctor will diagnose you depending on your experience of bipolar moods and the symptoms you present.
Some common diagnoses include:
This type of bipolar disorder involves periods of severe mood episodes ranging from both mania to depression.
This type of bipolar disorder consists of a milder form of mood elevation, with less extreme episodes (called hypomania) that alternate with episodes of significant depression.
Cyclothymic disorder is diagnosed when brief periods of both hypomania and depression occur, although they aren’t as extensive or as long-lasting as the symptoms in full hypomanic or depressive episodes.
Causes of bipolar disorder
Although the exact cause isn’t entirely known, genetic and environmental factors, as well as brain chemistry do play a role in the onset and progression of bipolar disorder.
If you are vulnerable to bipolar disorder, factors like stress, life events, substance misuse, and lack of sleep may also prompt the onset of a mood episode.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder are experienced differently between patients, depending on personal circumstances and the type of condition.
It is important to understand that some people with bipolar disorder can experience a less severe form of mania, called hypomania. The manic features of hypomania aren’t severe enough to impair a person’s daily life, but they can lead you to be more sociable or productive than usual. Others will experience mixed mood states where both depressive and manic symptoms exist together.
Signs of a manic episode may include:
Feeling overly upbeat or outgoing
Being easily distracted
Feeling overly elated, happy, or euphoric
Racing thoughts or speech
Taking on too many projects or unrealistic goal setting
Feelings of invincibility
Boundless energy levels
Irritability or aggression
Increased sex drive
Impulsive or risky behaviour (spending sprees, gambling, poor investments, unsafe sex, or substance misuse)