causes mood swings. A person with it may feel very high or low and without hope. Often, there are times of steady moods in between these highs and lows. There may also be a change in energy and actions. The highs are called manic episodes. The lows are called
Low moods may cause:
Lasting sad, worried, or empty mood
Negativity or lack of hope
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Not wanting to do things that were once enjoyed
Problems with focus, recall, or making choices
Restlessness or irritability
Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep
Changes in hunger and weight loss or gain
Pain or other health symptoms that do not have a cause
Thoughts of death or self-harm or trying to kill oneself
High moods may cause:
Raised energy, activity, and restlessness
Very high, overly good mood
Racing thoughts and talking quickly, jumping from 1 point to the next
A mild to medium level of mania is called hypomania. It may feel good to the person who has it. A person be able to get more things done. It can become mania or can switch to depression if it is not treated.
A person may also have:
Sometimes, mania, or depression turns into symptoms of psychosis, such as:
Hallucinations—hearing, seeing, or feeling that things are there that are not
Delusions—false, strongly held thoughts that are not based in reality
Disorders of thought—loose links between topics, flight of topics, or speech that others can't make sense of
Some people are in danger of self-harm. A person who is thinking or talking about self-harm needs help right away.
Signs may be:
Talking about feeling like killing oneself or wanting to die
Feeling hopeless, that nothing will ever change or get better
Feeling helpless, that nothing one does makes any change
Feeling like a weight to family and friends
Using alcohol or drugs
Putting affairs in order (organizing finances or giving away items to get ready for one's death)
Writing a suicide note
Putting oneself in harm's way or places where there is a danger of dying
Bipolar disorder in adults. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-tr-15-3679/index.shtml. Updated October 2018. Accessed October 10, 2019.
Yatham LN, Kennedy SH, et al. Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) 2018 guidelines for the management of patients with bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2018 Mar;20(2):97-170 Bipolar Disord 2018 Mar;20(2):97.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated 12/11/2020
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