Bipolar Disorder Overview

According to World Health Organization, Bipolar disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Bipolar Disorder has faces various episodes of symptoms like Mood Episode, Manic Episode, Depressive Episode and/ or Mixed Episode.

  • Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode)The classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Bipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.
  • Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression)In Bipolar II disorder, the person doesn’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.
  • Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression)Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder. It consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression

Symptoms of bipolar disorder are described below.

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode

Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode

Symptoms of hypomania or hypomanic episode

  • A long period of feeling “high,” or an overly happy or outgoing mood
  • Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling “jumpy” or “wired
  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted
  • Increasing goal-directed activities, such as taking on new projects
  • Being restless
  • Sleeping little
  • Having an unrealistic belief in one’s abilities
  • Behaving impulsively and taking part in a lot of pleasurable,
    high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments.
  • A long period of feeling worried or empty
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.
  • Feeling tired or “slowed down”
  • Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
  • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.
  • Feel euphoric, energetic, and productive
  • To others looks like they are unusually happy. 
  • Hypomania is a less severe form of mania
  • They are able to carry on with their day-to-day lives and they never lose touch with reality
  • But may lead to bad decisions that harm relationships, careers, and reputations
  • Often escalates to full-blown mania or is followed by a major depressive episode


Written by Vidhi Soni, MD

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