Symptoms of bipolar disorder

Symptoms associated with bipolar disorder differ in line with the varying nature of the condition and can sometimes be difficult to spot. However, certain behavioural patterns are common. These include manic (often referred to as mania or hypomania) or depressive episodes. Some people who have bipolar disorder also develop psychotic symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is a volatile condition where there is no 'happy medium' in symptoms, but more extreme highs and lows. As such, it is important to look out for a pattern of extreme or unexpected behaviour and a strain on personal relationships. Insomnia and extreme tiredness are also key symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Signs of bipolar disorder

Common signs of bipolar disorder can include:

Mania and bipolar disorder:

  • Elevated mood - feeling very happy and excited for a sustained period of time
  • Irritability over small things and focusing on these small issues over a prolonged period of time
  • Increased self-confidence due to surges in happiness
  • More talkative nature although some sentences may not make sense
  • Becoming easily distracted
  • Making poor judgement when faced with decision making
  • Reduced sleep due to nature of illness, the surge in adrenaline can cause insomnia

Depression and bipolar disorder:

  • Decrease in self-confidence due to nature of depression and the extreme emotions attached
  • Inability to make decisions because of worry and underlying anxiety
  • Reduced sleep as you are unable to ‘switch off’
  • Negative thoughts about life
  • Lack of interest in friends and family can lead to social isolation and can heighten depression
  • Suicidal thoughts due to clouded judgement and lack of positivity

What are the emotional symptoms of bipolar disorder?

7 tips for dealing with bipolar disorder

  1. Once you have been diagnosed and are able to progress with treatment, it is crucial to have hope that your condition will improve. Believing that you are able to recover is a part of the recovery process and helps you to cope with mood swings
  2. Ask questions about your condition to inform your recovery and decisions regarding treatment
  3. Surround yourself with positive influences – support from trusted friends and family is crucial to maintaining a stable lifestyle and positive environment
  4. Keep tabs on when you need to take specific medication - personal responsibility is crucial within the recovery process for bipolar disorder
  5. Make healthy decisions, whether that be with the food you eat or the relationships you have. Making rational, healthy decisions will help you to progress and control your mood
  6. Avoid drugs and alcohol – substances such as these give a short term high but can make you feel even more depressed and eventually cause greater emotional and mental issues
  7. Write a diary of your emotions, feelings and triggers so that you can reflect on your mood swings and understand what your triggers are

If you would like further information about the help and treatments available for bipolar disorder, then please call: 0845 277 4679.