Bipolar disorder symptoms
Bipolar disorder symptoms can be broken down into manic symptoms and depressive symptoms.
Manic symptoms include the following:
- Racing thoughts/flight of ideas: rapid speech that changes focus from moment to moment based on association, distractions, or plays on words.
- Irresponsibility and erratic behavior
- Grandiosity or overconfidence
- Increased activity associated with weight loss and sexual libido
- Decreased sleep
- Pressured speech
Severe mania can involve psychosis, which is characterized by hallucinations or delusions. Hallucinations can cause an individual to see, hear, or feel things that are not there, and delusions are distorted thoughts that cause individuals to believe that certain things are true when they are not.
Depressive symptoms include the following:
- Decreased energy
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Changes in sleep
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feelings of guilt
- Psychomotor agitation: feelings of restlessness, tremors and meaningless movements
AKUA Mind & Body Treatment Program
AKUA Mind and Body utilizes a blend of holistic approaches combined with evidence-based treatment and medication assistance to help individuals who have been affected by bipolar disorder. This treatment approach allows clients to recognize their underlying triggers and then provides guidance to develop healthy coping skills.
Bipolar disorder subtypes
There are three main bipolar subtypes:
- Bipolar disorder type I
- Bipolar disorder type II
- Cyclothymic disorder
Bipolar disorder type I (BPI) is characterized by at least one episode of mania, which leads to hospitalization or significant impairment in functioning. Individuals with bipolar I experience at least one manic episode in their lives. Although not required for the formal diagnosis, the vast majority will also experience major depressive episodes. The manic episodes are the defining characteristic of bipolar disorder type I.
In comparison, bipolar disorder type II (BPII) is characterized by severe depression combined with punctuated hypomanic episodes, in other words, the “up” moods never reach full-blown mania, and instead, depression is the major feature. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania that does not result in psychosis or cause impairments in social or occupational functioning.
Cyclothymic disorder is diagnosed in individuals who have both hypomanic and depressive symptoms for at least two years without meeting the full criteria for hypomania, mania, or major depression.
How to deal with bipolar disorder
Although episodes of mania or depression can occur anytime, environmental stressors such as lack of sleep or psychosocial stressors such as financial strain, relationship conflicts, work stress or trauma in the home, play a significant role in triggering both mania and depression. Since manic and depressive episodes can be triggered, many mental health experts recommend psychotherapy to help individuals learn healthy coping skills and put them into practice when these stressors arise.