Bipolar disorder is a psychological disorder characterized by “manic” episodes, either preceding or following a time of a major depression. Manic episodes are defined as experiencing a period of at least 1 week where you have “an elevated, expansive or unusually irritable mood, as well as notably persistent goal-directed activity,”
What are the types of bipolar disorder?
A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in his or her life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated mood, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.
Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time. However, in bipolar II disorder, the "up" moods never reach full-on mania.
In rapid cycling, a person with bipolar disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year. About 10 percent to 20 percent of people with bipolar disorder have rapid cycling.
In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. But with mixed bipolar disorder, a person experiences both mania and depression simultaneously or in rapid sequence.
Cyclothymia (cyclothymic disorder) is a relatively mild mood disorder. People with cyclothymic disorder have milder symptoms than in full-blown bipolar disorder.
What are the symptoms?
The depression phase
Symptoms of a depressive episode may include:
• No interest in activities you once enjoyed
• Loss of energy
• Difficulty sleeping—either sleeping too much or not at all
• Changes in appetite—eating too much or too little
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
• Thoughts of death or suicide
The manic phase
Symptoms of a manic episode may include:
• Feelings of euphoria, abnormal excitement, or elevated mood
• Talking very rapidly or excessively
• Needing less sleep than normal, yet still having plenty of energy
• Feeling agitated, irritable, hyper, or easily distracted
• Engaging in risky behavior such as lavish spending, impulsive sexual encounters, or ill-advised business decision