There are many different symptoms -- and several different types -- of bipolar disorder. The primary symptoms are dramatic and unpredictable mood swings. The types of bipolar disorder range from mild to severe.
Bipolar disorder can be sneaky. Infrequent episodes of mania can go undetected. Depression can overshadow other aspects of the illness. And substance abuse can further cloud the picture.
Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose, but these tips may help you recognize the symptoms.
The primary symptoms of bipolar disorder are periods of elevated or irritable mood accompanied by dramatic increases in energy, activity, and fast thinking.
How to recognize the symptoms of mania and hypomania, part of the manic phases of bipolar disorder.
The dramatic mood episodes of bipolar disorder do not follow a predictable pattern.
There are several types of bipolar disorder; all involve episodes of depression and mania to a degree.
A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in their life. Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of depression.
In bipolar II disorder, the "up" moods never reach full-blown mania. These less-intense elevated moods are called hypomanic episodes.
In rapid cycling, a person with the disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. This can occur at any point in the course of bipolar disorder.
A person with mixed bipolar episodes has symptoms of both mood "poles" -- mania and depression -- at the same time or in rapid sequence.
In cyclothymic disorder, moods swing between short periods of mild depression and mania.
The bipolar spectrum refers to conditions that include not only bipolar disorder but also other types of mental conditions that involve depression or mood swings.