It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....

Bipolar Disorder Message Board

Attention Newbies! Please Read: Bipolar Disorder Symptom Primer

Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-06-2005, 08:51 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 305
reesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB Userreesie HB User
Post Attention Newbies! Please Read: Bipolar Disorder Symptom Primer

The question of "What are the symptoms of Bipolar?" comes up often around here, so I thought it might be good to make a big primer to answer that very question. Our excellent moderators have promised to make this thread sticky so we won't be answering this question every week until we die. So let's hear it for the mods! Yay! Mods Rock! Okay, here we go. . . .


To aid you in increasing your understanding of bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), below are some of the common symptoms of the illness. Please keep in mind this is only meant as a guide to further your understanding. No one person can diagnose themselves or others as suffering from bipolar disorder. Seek the services of a psychiatrist in determining (or ruling out) a bipolar diagnosis.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Most people who have bipolar disorder experience highs and lows – the highs are what is referred to as Mania, the lows are what is referred to as Depression. These swings range from tons of energy to deep despair (even suicidal thoughts). The severity (and frequency) of the mood swings and their life disrupting abilities are the difference between bipolar disorder and ordinary mood swings that occur in almost everyone.

Mania Symptoms (when one is experiencing these they are said to be "Manic")

Increase in energy

Heightened mood (excessive happiness, perkiness, humor)

High degree of optimism and self-confidence

Excessive irritability and aggressive behavior

Decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue

Grandiose delusions, inflated sense of self-importance

Racing speech and thoughts

Impulsive behavior

Lowered inhibitions (yep, just like when a mentally healthy person is drunk)

Poor judgment


Poor concentration (which greatly effects cognitive abilities)

Reckless and/or inappropriate behavior

Delusions and hallucinations (Thinking, seeing, and hearing things that don't exist or are not true. This is also known as psychosis)

Nervousness, anxiety, or panic


Please note that these symptoms can occur singly or in any combination. For instance a manic individual can be irritable with racing speech and thoughts but not experiencing psychosis.


Depressive Symptoms (When one is experiencing these they are said to be "Depressed". Go figure, huh?)

Inexplicable sadness or crying spells

Changes in appetite (Either lack of or excess of which is linked to sudden weight loss or weight gain)

Disturbed sleep patterns (Either too little or no sleep known as Insomnia. Or too much sleep known as Hypersomnia)

Irritability and anger

Excessive worry

Nervousess, agitation, and anxiety

Pessimism, indifference, and apathy

Loss of energy, persistent lethargy (Usually accompanied by inexplicable and unrelenting fatigue)

Feelings of guilt and worthlessness (over just about everything)

Lack of concentration and indecisiveness

Inability to enjoy former interests and hobbies

Social withdrawal

Unexplained aches and pains (and I believe "excessive illness" should be added here. It seems like I catch colds and infections like crazy and recover very slowly.)

Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (be worried when suicidal ideations or plans are present, this is a very dangerous time)

Please note that these symptoms can occur singly or in any combination. For instance a depressed individual can be socially withdrawn, apathetic, and hypersomatic but not irritable.
Types of Bipolar Disorder

Patterns and severity of symptoms, or episodes, of mania and depression, determine different types of bipolar disorder (supposedly, this is not an exact science so one has to wonder). There are several schools of thought on these Bipolar categories. This is just one set of definitions. And each person with Bipolar disorder usually has a different opinion as well. So consider this a rough guide bounded by very blurry lines.

Bipolar I disorder is exhibited as one or more manic episodes or mixed episodes (symptoms of both mania and depression occurring simultaneously every day for 1 week or more) and one or more major depressive episodes. Bipolar I disorder may be the most severe form of the illness because it is marked by extreme manic episodes (which typically include psychosis).

Bipolar II disorder is exhibited as one or more depressive episodes accompanied by at least one hypomanic episode. Hypomania has symptoms similar to manic episodes but are less severe because they are not typically marked by psychosis (this is a blurry line, some do experience psychosis). For some, hypomanic episodes are not severe enough to cause notable problems their daily functioning (they are SOOOO lucky!) but that is not true for everyone. Hypomania can be plenty disruptive and destructive.

Bipolar II disorder may be misdiagnosed as depression (and often is). This is due to patients (and their doctors) not noticing the signs of hypomania or patients only seeking medical treatment when they are depressed. This is why it is important to tell your doctor EVERYTHING you experience that is out of the norm.

Cyclothymic disorder is exhibited by frequently fluctuating episodes of hypomania and depression. These episodes are generally short (i.e. lasting days, hours, minutes), and do not occur with the regularity or predictability of bipolar II or I. Cyclothymia is also known as "rapid cycling". I personally believe cyclothymia is another blurry line because some believe cyclothymia to be a part of bipolar I or II and others believe it stands on its own. In any case, it can be a royal pain and deserves attention.

Below is the ***** page on bipolar disorder and its symptoms as well as many links to related articles.


It may also be important to note that bipolar disorder has many symptoms similar to borderline personality disorder. It is also common for bipolar disorder to occur along with other disorders such as panic disorder, anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia to name a few.

I hope this primer has been helpful. Welcome to the boards and good luck!


Last edited by moderator2; 11-09-2007 at 03:19 PM.

The following 14 users give hugs of support to: reesie
Alida Coetzee (03-06-2011),bellabellona (08-10-2011),Belladom (04-16-2011),Flossy66 (03-07-2011),fuzzybrayn (10-02-2011),karenmc (07-20-2011),lael823 (07-30-2011),pineapple798 (01-05-2011),qcaj (04-16-2011),ssalo (08-24-2011),ssedalnick (08-30-2011),Teresa0468 (12-27-2011),TRENDA ESTRADA (03-06-2011),xvixxiex (12-12-2011)
The Following 68 Users Say Thank You to reesie For This Useful Post:
Alexa3 (12-08-2011),Alida Coetzee (03-06-2011),AngeInBoston (09-23-2012),bellabellona (08-10-2011),bldkie (05-17-2011),bp1p (09-12-2011),Brocallie (11-02-2012),chri0938 (01-06-2012),chuckles1 (09-03-2011),crazymamaof2 (04-11-2012),ddfort (06-17-2011),Doida (11-08-2012),DoublePolar (02-28-2011),Elaineg1234 (09-27-2012),etsnyder (04-09-2011),exoticsquare (09-28-2011),fay58 (06-06-2012),fireofthedoom (10-31-2011),Flossy66 (03-07-2011),Gossipgirlxoxo (02-20-2011),grayhounds3 (02-21-2012),GTBinrecovery (01-07-2012),Happy313 (10-22-2012),Indnmom (01-17-2011),jacq42 (06-05-2011),Jame456 (06-14-2012),josyl (11-05-2012),karenmc (07-20-2011),katie j (02-28-2011),kimmyk33 (10-26-2010),layla22 (03-17-2012),lionking92 (07-06-2011),Lizpaterson (12-29-2010),Mary335ix (05-13-2012),Microchuck (05-29-2011),Missamandaanne (02-16-2011),mister smith (05-09-2012),Mommella (11-04-2010),pattiea (08-20-2011),PositiveBelief (04-14-2011),ralph1414 (05-29-2012),raquel984 (08-28-2011),Rball (05-30-2012),Regal586 (07-23-2012),ROSSIV46 (06-14-2012),sandpiper3439 (05-25-2012),SeaPixie (06-09-2012),Searchin (12-22-2010),searching4p3ace (05-02-2011),secondaryms2011 (05-08-2011),shadowmom (03-21-2011),She Emerges (06-02-2011),sparkley779 (08-02-2012),Spinny0901 (08-08-2012),spirithorse63 (01-19-2011),ssalo (08-24-2011),ssedalnick (08-30-2011),suncatcher378 (10-28-2010),sweetonlyme (07-30-2011),TakingtheBest24 (08-13-2012),tarheeldad (12-08-2010),Teresa0468 (12-27-2011),tmb0163 (06-05-2011),Twiz (03-16-2011),Vivicide (11-01-2012),wahootwo (07-20-2012),windimeria2000 (11-02-2010),YogiBearMom (04-27-2011)
Sponsors Lightbulb
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
welcome to the newbies Angel MJ Lupus 1 05-25-2012 08:30 AM
For All The newbies...helpful hints Heather75 Smoking Cessation 4 11-28-2007 04:19 PM
advice for newbies daisy01 Thyroid Disorders 5 07-31-2006 01:43 PM
my attention seeking friend sad song Relationship Health 4 05-29-2006 03:42 PM
I'm starting to believe that i do alot of things just for attention. Lazer-LXXVII Mental Health 2 10-31-2005 10:58 AM
The List (again) for the newbies ladydiann Fibromyalgia 38 07-13-2005 07:00 PM
Just how much attention is enough? Gianna2 Relationship Health 25 07-06-2005 05:10 PM
Resection janna7782 Bowel Disorders 104 02-20-2005 11:19 AM
shared attention? (and update on assessment) leonsmum Autism Spectrum 1 08-23-2004 01:05 AM
welcoming Newbies youneeak Eating Disorder Recovery 5 11-01-2002 01:03 PM

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Sign Up Today!

Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

I want my free account

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:35 AM.

Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
© 1998-2018 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!