Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar depression is a mood disorder that causes someone to experience sometimes extreme mood swings that can last up to several weeks. 

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a complicated condition.  It is also known as manic depression because it entails periods of mania and depression.  It is difficult to diagnose. It is important to provide detailed answers to the history and physical to obtain the most accurate information to avoid needless suffering.  Everyone experiences changes in our mood based on what’s going on in our lives.

Someone who has bipolar disorder experiences mood swings, often without a specific cause that is much more severe than average mood changes. These shifts in mood can be so powerful that they disrupt that person’s everyday life, affecting their relationships and performance at work or school.

Symptoms of Bipolar 

Common symptoms of Bipolar include: 

  • Distracted easily
  • Talking faster or louder than normal 
  • Inflated sense of self-esteem
  • Doing risky things you later regret
  • Increased productivity 
  • Significantly decreased need for sleep
  • High levels of energy
  • Increased interest in sex
  • Increased irritability 

Typically, these manic periods are followed by depression, but it’s not required to have a diagnosis of Bipolar 1.  People with Bipolar 2 will have periods of depression.   

There are three types of bipolar depression:

Bipolar 1 Disorder is characterized by manic episodes lasting seven days or more and depressive episodes lasting two weeks. Manic episodes may be severe enough to require hospitalization. For people who have Bipolar 1, it’s also possible to experience a mix of depressive and manic symptoms in rapid succession.

With Bipolar 2 Disorder, depressive episodes are broken up by periods of hypomania. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. Symptoms are milder and last for several days instead of a week or more.

Cyclothymic disorder is a rare mood disorder that causes emotional highs and lows that may go on for months but are not as severe as what happens with Bipolar 1 Disorder or Bipolar 2 Disorder.