Bipolar disorder is one of the most commonly portrayed mental illnesses in mainstream media. In many examples, a person switches from hysterically screaming to helplessly crying in a matter of minutes. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder may include extended periods of depression, mania or even hypomania.
In fact, five different types of bipolar disorder exist depending on the severity of the mood and energy changes. In order to manage their respective conditions, more people need to recognize when symptoms of depression or mania are approaching.
The characterization of mania is relative to what is considered appropriate activity for each individual. Manic behavior is defined by unusual changes in mood and behavior. Changes in mood may include an extended period of feeling high, excessively happy or overly outgoing. A person in a manic state may also experience extreme irritability.
Other behavioral changes during mania include the following:
- Talking very fast
- Becoming easily distracted
- Racing thoughts, or quickly moving from one idea to a new idea without any clear connection
- Starting waves of new projects and activities
- Fluctuating sleep habits without any symptoms of tiredness
Each of these symptoms can be identified early during the onset of mania, but they also become more evident as an episode worsens. A person in mania is also prone to behaving impulsively. Actions may consist of making large purchases without reason or engaging in unprotected sexual activity.
When bipolar disorder is treated effectively, it will result in the reduction of manic symptoms. It is important to note that this is not an indicator of an approaching depression, but the reflection of stabilizing moods.
How to Recognize Depressive Symptoms
Similar to its manic counterpart, a depressive episode includes changes in both mood and behaviors. Mood changes may include guilt, nervousness, hopelessness and worthlessness. However, a person with depression is more likely to avoid starting new activities or even completing existing ones.
Additional behavior changes of a depressive episode may include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive lethargy and exhaustion
- Extreme irritability
- Changes in eating, sleeping or other routine habits
Suicidal Thoughts or Actions
If an individual begins to experience suicidal thoughts, inpatient hospitalization at a treatment center for bipolar disorder may be necessary for recovery. This provides the person with an opportunity to receive a controlled medication regimen in a secure setting. If he or she also deals with co-occurring substance abuse or other mental health disorders, additional behavioral health care services can assist with delivering effective addiction treatment.
Bipolar disorder can be a complicated diagnosis for those who have it and for their family members. Understanding more about mania and depression is one of the best ways to manage the disorder. Any symptoms of manic or depressive states may actually present themselves during the onset of the episode, so contact a bipolar treatment center at the soonest sign of disorder to ensure a quick and stable recovery.