Bipolar Disorder is a mental disorder where the mood swings from extreme depression to extreme euphoria over the space of a few weeks. It is the same as depression with the added in phase of elation or euphoria. Bipolar Disorder used to be called Manic Depressive Psychosis when I was going to medical school. The more politically correct term, Bipolar Disorder has only gained currency in over the last 25 years or so.
Symptoms of the depressive phase of bipolar disorder
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure. Everything is flat and without meaning.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month. Eating too much or too little.
- Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning when you may be at your worst, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia) not wanting to get out of bed and face the day.
- Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
- Reckless behaviour. You engage in escapist behaviour such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
- Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
- A feeling that life is no longer worth living. If this applies to you then please seek immediate help and talk to some trusted friend or to a healthcare professional.
Symptoms of the manic or euphoric phase of bipolar disorder
- Reckless spending and generally reckless behaviour with out much regard for self or others.
- No insight into ones own behaviour or though about its consequences. In denial of everything.
- A feeling of elation and on a high all the time as if on a happy drug like amphetamine or cocaine. Energised and happy.
- Rapid speech and jumping from one topic to the next.
If you feel that any of this might apply to you or that you might have a Bipolar Disorder, as distinct from normal mood swings, then we may be able to help you.
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