Bipolar disorder causes mood swings. You may feel very high or sad and without hope. Then you may feel high again. Often, there are times of steady moods in between these highs and lows. You may also have a change in energy and actions. The highs are called mania. The lows are called depression.
Low moods may cause:
High moods may cause:
A mild to medium level of mania is called hypomania. It may feel good to the person who has it. You may be able to get more things done. It can become mania or can switch to depression if it isn't treated.
You may also have:
Sometimes, times of mania or depression turn into symptoms of psychosis, such as:
These symptoms are the extreme mood state at the time. A person with mania may believe that he or she is the President or has special powers or wealth. A person with depression may believe that he or she is ruined and penniless or has done a crime.
Some people are in danger of self-harm. A person who is thinking about self-harm needs help right away. A person who talks about self-harm should get medical help right away. The risk of self-harm is higher early on. Finding bipolar disorder early and learning how best to treat it may lower the risk of death by self-harm.
Signs that you may have with thoughts of self-harm are:
Problems can range from mild to severe. If you are feeling depressed, you may have a low mood, feel somewhat depressed, or have major depression. The symptoms of mania can also range from having more energy to being in a very high mood.
The disorder is complex because there is also a mixed state. You may feel like you have a lot of energy. At the same time you may also feel sad, wound up, and have thoughts of self-harm. In between these times, you could have times when your mood is steady.
Bipolar disorder is also broken down into four main types:
There is also a type called rapid cycling. This is more likely if you have severe bipolar disorder. It means that you have four or more times of major depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed state in one year.
This mental health problem is not easy to detect. Most people ask their doctors for help because they are depressed. They may not talk about their times of high mood. Doctors may not ask questions about mood changes.
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Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated 9/26/2018