Bipolar disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability in the entire world. It effects 6% of the American population. It’s made more likely when there is someone in the family with mental illness. Generally there are five types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I has the mood swings of the drastic highs of mania and the deep, dark lows of depression. Bipolar II has mild mania swings, called hypomania, and depressive swings. Cyclothymic disorder is a mild version of bipolar disorder that does not dramatically effect daily functioning. Mixed bipolar disorder is exactly as it sounds, showing symptoms of mania and depression in one episode. Bipolar disorder NOS (not otherwise specified) is also a common diagnosis, it basically means that someone’s symptoms don’t fall all into one of the other categories. Bipolar with psychotic features is not a type by itself, it is Bipolar I with hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, or psychosis during the manic phase or extreme depression.
The ties that bind all types of bipolar disorder is the “poles” of mania and depression. Below are some warning signs that are evident during one of these phases
Racing thoughts and rapid speech–
This can be very bothersome to the person experiencing these symptoms. Racing thoughts can become very confusing and rapid speech is hard for others to understand. This may can irritation for people trying to deal with someone with these symptoms causing trouble in socializing.
Lack of need for sleep–
A feeling of motivation may take over forcing the person with this symptom to possibly work on a project throughout the day and night for days without realizing time has even gone by. Even days without sleep causes no loss of functioning until inevitably there is a physical or mental crash.
Feelings of being invincible–
This may be the feeling of being unbelievably happy and “on top of the world”.
Hyper-sexuality or promiscuousness-
A person in a manic state may seek out numerous sexual encounters with their significant partner or by themselves several times a day. Some may seek out multiple partners in a week or even a day. This often leads to feelings of guilt or regret later.
Irritability or becoming short-tempered–
Every small thing may get on the person’s “nerves” or set of a burst of anger that is not properly directed.
An example of this is the stereotypical compulsive shopping or spending of bipolar disorder. It can also lead to substance abuse issues and other poor choices.
Lack of attention to hygiene–
This may or may not be obvious to anyone but the depressed person. This person might not brush their teeth or hair, resist showering or changing their clothes for days.
This is any amount of sleep above and beyond the normal need for the bipolar person. This can actually last sometimes from 12 to 48 hours in a stretch and still waking up feeling exhausted and as if having not slept at all.
No interest in previously enjoyed activities–
If this person, for example, enjoys cooking, reading, and walking and then abruptly stops and just lays on the couch mindlessly watching television this person has definitely lost interest.
Withdrawal from society and personal relationships–
This depressed person may try to avoid spending time with their children or significant other at home. Anything to avoid being around people as well, including being around crowds such as in a church or even a grocery store.
Threatening or attempting suicide–
Anyone threatening or attempting suicide at any moment needs help. Whether or not it is a serious attempt or a cry for help it must be immediately addressed because it is very dangerous to just ignore.
These are just SOME of the many symptoms that the many types of bipolar disorder that can cause someone to have a second glance and ask questions or seek help. The depressive symptoms with no mania symptoms may also need to seek out a doctor