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10 Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar Disorder is also known as manic depression. It is a disorder where you experience episodes of mood swings of depressive lows to manic highs. It is believed that bipolar disorder is caused by a combination of your genetics, environment, and altered brain structure and chemistry.

Bipolar Disorder is a very common condition, with more than 3 million cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Lifetime treatment includes medications and psychotherapy.

Symptom 1: Fatigue

Do you have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much? Bipolar disorder can cause fatigue. There are things you can do to combat the fatigue, including developing a sleep routine that you can follow, exercising, and stay hydrated (but avoid caffeine).

In her bipolarburble blog, Natasha Tracy states: “Because bipolar treatment truly is exhausting. If you haven’t spent the last decade-and-a-half fighting bipolar disorder, let me clue you in: for many of us, fighting bipolar disorder is an every second of every minute of every hour of every day of your life kind-of-a-thing. Dealing with bipolar disorder is not something that stops when you leave your doctor’s office or when you take your pills. Truly treating bipolar disorder means using coping skills and being on guard for the problems of bipolar disorder every moment of forever. And this is beyond tiring. This is beyond fatiguing. This is soul-suckingly, bone-crushingly exhausting. It feels like you can’t move your pinky finger because bipolar has sucked all of the life out of you some days. Believe me, I get this. I have felt bipolar treatment fatigue more times than I care to recall.”

Symptom 2: Lethargic/Low Energy

Do you have little to no energy? Is it difficult to perform simple and basic tasks? Are your reflexes slower? Are you less coordinated?

Lethargy or low energy is a symptom of Bipolar Disorder, usually because of the fatigue from it.

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Symptom 3: Sadness

Are you sad? Depressed? Hopeless? So much so that you can’t even get out of bed?

These emotions and thoughts are due to the depressive phase of Bipolar Disorder.

Symptom 4: Mentally Sluggish

Are you suffering from overly slow or fast speech, and poor coordination and concentration? Is it difficult to complete tasks? Do you forget words and facts that you learned long ago?

According to an article on Bipolarlives, “…Now I know I have an intuitive reluctance to use the phone because I may come across as dazed and stupid. This happens if stress cuts off my ability to think or if new and information comes up. My responses are slow and labored as I may miss a few beats while I put things in context.”

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Symptom 5: Overly Happy

Are you ecstatic, overly happy? Basically, bouncing off the walls? You may be in the manic phase of Bipolar Disorder.

On everyday Health, Amit Anand, MD, professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, stated: "Something can make you feel down or feel very happy, but highs and lows that are out of proportion to what's happening are another indicator of bipolar disorder. Bipolar symptoms also cause impairment in daily life.”

Symptom 6: Extreme Mood Swings

Mood episodes associated with Bipolar Disorder can last several days to months. Your mood may be positive ne moment, but then you become negative the next moment. Mood swings can involve anger, anxiety, euphoria, guilt, crying, or lots of energy.

You may even have suicidal thoughts and want to do yourself harm. Seek support from your care tram, family, and friends.

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Symptom 7: High Energy

Do you have lots of energy or hyperactive? Don’t need much sleep? Are you impulsive? Restless? High energy occurs during the manic phase of Bipolar Disorder.

According to a Huffington post article, Dr. Carrie Bearden says stated: “Hypomania can be a pretty enjoyable state, really. A person’s mood can be elevated, they may have a lot of energy and creativity, and they may experience euphoria. This is the “up” side of bipolar disorder that some people with the condition actually enjoy—while it lasts.”

Symptom 8: Unrealistic Thoughts

Are unwanted thoughts running through your head? Are they realistic? Or not – because of Bipolar Disorder? Do you make plans that are unrealistic? Do you make unusual decisions impulsively?

With Bipolar Disorder, your thoughts often lose touch with reality. Your thoughts may be delusional or false.

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Symptom 9: Loss of Interest/Motivation

Have you lost interest in or are no longer motivated to do things you use to enjoy, such as exercising, reading, or traveling?

In a Bipolar Laid Bare post, LaRae LaBouff stated: “I won’t lie, I lack motivation a lot. I can be the queen of procrastination. It’s not a desirable trait, to me or those around me. When there’s a task that needs doing and I’m feeling particularly apathetic, I get cranky. I whine. I sigh. It’s irritating. Smaller tasks are not so bad, but if it requires a certain amount of effort, I really have to convince myself to get going. I’m certain that part of it is just laziness. Everyone, normals included, has days where we just don’t want to do anything. Brushing your teeth even sounds like a waste of time, even though you’ve got time in spades because you’re not doing anything else.”

Symptom 10: Weight Loss/Gain

Bipolar Disorder can cause you to lose or gain weight – typically gaining too much weight unless you exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. Also, medications you take to manage Bipolar Disorder can make your weight fluctuate.

According to PsychEducation.org, “Weight gain is clearly caused by medications used to treat bipolar disorder, some more than others. This weight gain can be so large as to have its own serious health consequences, so we need to take it very seriously.”

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