From historical figures to celebrities to everyday people, there are many people with bipolar disorder. Whether one hears of these people on television or in real life, the question often arises as to how they know they have bipolar disorder. So, what are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
Since there are two distinct parts of bipolar disorder, there are also two separate sets of symptoms of bipolar disorder. These symptoms of bipolar disorder many times reflect opposites from the manic to the depressive sides of the illness.
The most obvious of the opposites in the symptoms of bipolar disorder is level of energy and activity. In depression, the person will feel a loss of energy and suffer from fatigue. That person may even appear to be slow. On the other hand, the manic person will have an increased level of energy and much more than usual activity.
Degree of self-esteem is another of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. A depressed person feels unworthy or is guilt-ridden. A manic, though, is so full of him- or herself that he or she has unreasonable ideas of him- or herself or even delusions of grandeur.
This loss of self-esteem may be what leads the depressed person to be indecisive, and overblown self importance that urges the manic to become reckless. Neither the depressed person nor the manic one sees these decision-making processes as symptoms of bipolar disorder. But that is exactly what they are.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder differ from the depressive to the manic mostly because the general themes are different. In depression, everything is slow, dull, small, introverted, and hopeless. In mania, things are overblown, huge, fast, outgoing, and full of impossible dreams.
Some symptoms of bipolar disorder seem, on the surface, to be similar. For example, The poor concentration of the depressed person may appear similar to the distraction of the manic person. They both, in fact, have trouble holding a thought in their heads. This happens for different reasons, though. The depressed person has fewer thoughts but just cannot focus on any, while the manic person has excessive thought and goes rapidly from one to the next.
Sleep cycles vary in both depressed people and manic people. This is one of the symptoms of bipolar disorder which cause trouble for both. The depressed person may not care whether he or she sleeps or not, sometimes sleeping for long periods and sometimes not bothering to go to bed. The manic person will most surely feel little or no need for sleep. He or she may go without sleep for days.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder which vary the most from depressives to manics happen at the far ends of the spectrum. A person who is extremely depressed is likely to think dark thoughts about death, suicide, and even plans to commit suicide. The person who is manic enough can have strange thoughts such as delusions, and bizarre perceptions such as auditory and visual hallucinations.
If a person is truly bipolar, he or she will display some, if not all, of the symptoms of bipolar disorder on both the depressed and manic sides of the line. Because this illness is so serious and can have life changing consequences for the person with it, it is important to recognize the symptoms of bipolar disorder.