Bipolar Disorder - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Bipolar disorder, previously known as a manic disorder, is a condition in which the person has two extreme phases of mood. At one phase, they become sad, depressed, and feel low. While having another mood, they are very happy, full of energy and passion. It may also cause euphoria- a feeling of immense happiness. 

Symptoms of bipolar disorder:

The symptoms of bipolar disorder include extreme mood swings, mainly mania, hypomania, and major depression.

Mania: During manic episodes, a person feels emotionally high and energized. It includes euphoria- a feeling of immense happiness. During this state, a person may become very excited and ambitious. They may speak very quickly and do everything passionately. The person may spend a lot of money on different things. Along with that, the sex drive may also increase. In severe mania, a person may become irritable and restless.

Mania lasts for at least one week, and in severe cases, it can last for months. In severe cases, the person gets psychotic symptoms such as the feeling of superiority (grandiosity) and other delusions or hallucinations. 

Hypomania: Hypomania is similar to mania, but it is less intense than mania and psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations are absent. It also lasts for less time than mania. Hypomania is mild and usually does not affect a person’s social life very much because the symptoms may not be very noticeable.

Major depression: During a major depressive episode, the energy levels of the person become very low and the world around them feels to collapse and shatter. There are feelings of extreme sadness and anger. The person loses interest in activities that previously used to excite them. Doing a simple small task feels like a big thing to accomplish, and the person may sleep for longer than usual periods. Feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness begin to take over a person, and they may even get suicidal thoughts.

Types of bipolar disorder:

Bipolar type I: This type of bipolar disorder is defined by the occurrence of a manic episode for a minimum of one week, or severe mania which requires medical care. This episode of mania may be preceded or followed by hypomania or a major depressive episode. This type is equally common in both men and women.

Bipolar type II: This type of bipolar disorder is less severe than bipolar type I, and the person does not experience a full-blown manic episode. But for the diagnosis of bipolar type II, there should be a history of at least one major depressive episode and one episode of hypomania. This type is more common in women.

Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia): In this type, there are symptoms of hypomanic and depressive episodes for at least:

  • 1 year for children and adolescents

  • 2 years for adults

There may be many episodes of hypomania and depression, but the symptoms are mild than that of bipolar type I and type II.


Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. To overcome it, you should take treatment at the right time. Often it is treated with medications and psychotherapy. It is important to avoid substances such as alcohol as they can worsen mood swings.  Mood swings can affect your daily life activities such as sleep, eating, and behavior along with relationships. Not everyone may be able to understand your mood swings, but with proper and timely treatment, the condition can be managed well. 

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