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Depression Basics

Bipolar Depression Symptoms
Major Depression Symptoms
Male Depression Signs
Mild Depression Symptoms
Postpartum Depression Signs and Symptoms
Stress and Depression Symptoms
Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of Teen Depression
Diagnosis of Depression
Looking for a Therapist
Mini Mental State Examination
Steps for Choosing a Therapist
Causes of Depression
Causes of Major Depression
Causes of Manic Depression
Causes of Postpartum Depression
Causes of Teen Depression
Susceptibility to Depression
Triggers of Depression
Facts & Statistics
Bipolar Disorder Statistics
Dysthymic Disorder Statistics
Facts on Depression Statistics
Teenage Depression
Bipolar Depression Symptoms     

Cheerfulness. Gloominess. Exhilaration. Indifference. These are but a few of the many feelings that we experience in our daily life. We all experience ups and downs in our moods. But in the case of bipolar disorder, these ups and downs are more pronounced. Bipolar disorder—also known as manic depression or manic-depressive illness—is characterized by remarkable shifts in mood from the highs of mania to the lows of major depression.

Bipolar disorder involves stages of elevated mood, known as mania, alternating with periods of gloominess, known as depression. A person with this disorder experiences normal behavior between these two extremes. The pattern of these episodes is different for different people.

Bipolar disorder symptoms often go unnoticed by the patient, family and even by physicians. In its initial phases, bipolar disorder may appear to be as a problem other than mental illness. It may first appear as alcohol or drug abuse. If left unattended, bipolar disorder will worsen, and the person undergoes bouts of full-blown manic and depressive episodes.

A precursor to bipolar depression may be hypomania -- a phase in which the person displays a high level of energy, extreme sullenness or irritability, and impetuous or irresponsible behavior. Persons having hypomania may actually feel good experiencing it, oblivious of the disorder. So, the sufferer denies anything wrong even when family members recognized the symptoms.

Unlike regular mood changes, the sequences of bipolar disorder are much more severe and troublesome to daily performance. More than being just a transient good or bad mood, these periods last for days, months, or sometimes even years. And mood change isn’t the only victim of the disorder. In addition to affecting emotional health, bipolar disorder also impacts energy levels, levels of activity, decision-making ability, vital thinking skills, appetite, and sleep.

Bipolar Depression Symptoms – Common Features

Classic bipolar disorder (or Bipolar Disorder I) is associated with bouts of mania and of depression. In a manic phase, persons may experience abnormal elation or buoyancy to the point of weakening decision-making ability. They may feel energetic and wake up all night, be in motion all through, talk fast, decreased reticence.

Bipolar Disorder II is associated with bouts of milder depression and milder mania, called hypomania. A hypomanic episode varies from full-blown mania in that it does not display delusions and it does not have symptoms that might be unsafe to the person or to others.

A mixed episode is associated with the symptoms of both mania and depression occurring all together for at least one week. A person feeling the onslaught of a mixed episode might be very tense and disoriented, often experience difficulties in getting sleep or to concentrate.

Bipolar disorder symptoms are associated with alternating patterns of emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression).The depressive phase symptoms are:

Considerable changes in appetite and/or weight

Sense of sadness (feeling sad without any apparent reason)

Sleep disorders (e.g., experiencing insomnia or excessive sleep)

Loss of energy or weariness (e.g., taking much longer time to do simple, and daily tasks)

Trouble in focusing and concentrating (e.g., difficulty in taking decisions or focusing on work)

Slow speech or mobility (e.g., taking longer time to talk)

Inexplicable sense of remorse or irrelevance (e.g., be consumed with alleged failings)

Anxiety or impatience (e.g., difficulty in sticking to a place and restlessness)

Frequent thoughts of fatality or suicide (e.g., having plans to commit suicide or mulling over it)

The main characteristic of a manic phase is euphoria or an extremely irritable mood. Basic symptoms of manic phase of bipolar disorder are:

Exaggerated feeling of superiority (e.g., having extravagant fantasies or over-rating one’s capabilities and capacities)

Reduced necessity for sleep (e.g., going on without sleep for days on end and yet not feeling tired)

Shrill and fast speech (e.g., talking nonstop)

Galloping thoughts (e.g., suddenly switching from one topic to another)

Inability to focus (e.g., not being able to concentrate and blurting out extraneous information)

Tense and impatient (e.g., pacing or having several exchanges at once)

Psychomotor agitation (e.g., highly vigorous; improved efficiency; a sense of having high intellect and imagination)

Daredevilry or dangerous behavior (e.g., to rake up considerable liabilities, to have sex with unfamiliar persons, drug misuse etc)

The main distinctive dissimilarity between bipolar disorder and major clinical depression is the occurrence of manic episodes. This is why depression alone is not sufficient to diagnose a person with bipolar, even if this disorder runs in the family. However, even one manic episode is enough to formulate a bipolar diagnosis.


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