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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of BiPolar Disorder?

A person with bipolar disorder will go through episodes of mania (highs) and at other times experience episodes of depression (lows). These aren't the normal periods of happiness and sadness that everyone experiences from time to time. Instead, the episodes are intense or severe mood swings, like a pendulum that keeps arcing higher and higher.

Symptoms of mania include:

  • racing speech and thoughts
  • increased energy
  • decreased need for sleep
  • elevated mood and exaggerated optimism
  • increased physical and mental activity
  • excessive irritability, aggressive behavior, and impatience
  • poor judgment
  • reckless behavior, like excessive spending, making rash decisions, and erratic driving
  • difficulty concentrating
  • inflated sense of self-importance

Symptoms of depression include:

  • loss of interest in usual activities
  • prolonged sad or irritable mood
  • loss of energy or fatigue
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • sleeping too much or inability to sleep
  • drop in grades and inability to concentrate
  • inability to experience pleasure
  • appetite loss or overeating
  • anger, worry, and anxiety
  • thoughts of death or suicide

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