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Signs and Symptoms
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Back to Recognizing Bipolar Disorder

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can be different in each person.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or blue, or “down in the dumps”
  • Loss of interest in things the person used to enjoy, including sex
  • Feeling worthless, hopeless, or guilty
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Feeling tired or having little or no energy
  • Feeling restless
  • Problems concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

One person describes depression this way:
"I doubt completely my ability to do anything well. It seems as though my mind has slowed down and burned out to the point of being virtually useless. [I am] haunt[ed]…with the total, the desperate hopelessness of it all…Others say, 'It's only temporary, it will pass, you will get over it.' But of course they haven't any idea of how I feel, although they are certain they do. If I can't feel, move, think, or care, then what on earth is the point?"

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Increased energy level
  • Less need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts or mind jumps around
  • Easily distracted
  • More talkative than usual or feeling pressure to keep talking
  • More self-confident than usual
  • Focused on getting things done, but often completing little
  • Risky or unusual activities to the extreme, even if it’s likely bad things will happen

One person describes mania this way:
"The fast ideas become too fast and there are far too many…overwhelming confusion replaces clarity… Your friends become frightened…everything is now against the grain…you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and trapped."

Hypomania is a milder form of mania that has similar but less severe symptoms.

Keeping track of your symptoms

Everyone has mood swings. But if you have bipolar disorder, you may have times of mania and depression that make your life unbearable for yourself or other around you. But with treatment, bipolar disorder can be managed and you can live a normal life.

One important way to manage bipolar disorder is to keep track of how you're feeling. Tracking your symptoms using a Mood Chart can provide a sense of how things are going and show how your treatment is working.

Download Mood Chart in PDF

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