Bipolar disorder consists of cyclical changes from depressive states to manic states and is more than the usual ups and downs or mood swings that people experience. These recurring episodes of depression and mania cause extreme shifts in mood, energy, and behavior that interfere with normal functioning. These shifts in mood are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain as opposed to environmental events.
A thorough mental health diagnostic evaluation should be sought immediately if you suspect you are cycling between depression and mania.
Depressive symptoms include:
- Depressed (sad or empty) mood most of the day
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usually enjoyable activities
- Appetite/weight gain or loss,
- Disturbed sleep (insomnia or excess sleep),
- Lowered energy level/fatigue,
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt,
- Indecisiveness or lack of concentration,
- Suicidal thoughts or feelings.
Manic symptoms include:
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity,
- Decreased need for sleep (ability to go with little or no sleep for days without tiring),
- Pressured speech or being very talkative,
- Racing thoughts,
- Increased goal-directed activity (being very productive),
- Engaging in risky behavior or excessive pleasurable activity (such as sex or spending).