Could It Be Bipolar? 14 Signs to Look For

What’s Bipolar?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme mood swings from high to low, and from low to high. Highs are periods of mania, while lows are periods of depression. The mood swings may even become mixed, so you might feel elated and depressed at the same time.

Bipolar disorder isn’t a rare diagnosis. A 2005 study found that 2.6 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 5 million people, are living with some form of bipolar disorder. Symptoms tend to appear in a person’s late teens or early adult years, but they can occur in children as well. Women are more likely to receive bipolar diagnoses than men, though the reason for this remains unclear.

Bipolar disorder can be hard to diagnose, but there are warning signs or symptoms that you can look for.

What are the warning signs of bipolar disorder?

The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder are varied. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, making this condition hard to diagnose.

The warning signs of bipolar disorder can generally be divided into those for mania, and those for depression.

7 signs of mania

Mania can cause other symptoms as well, but seven of the key signs of this phase of bipolar disorder are:

  1. feeling overly happy or “high” for long periods of time
  2. having a decreased need for sleep
  3. talking very fast, often with racing thoughts
  4. feeling extremely restless or impulsive
  5. becoming easily distracted
  6. having overconfidence in your abilities
  7. engaging in risky behavior, such as having impulsive sex, gambling with life savings, or going on big spending sprees

7 signs of depression

Like mania, depression can cause other symptoms as well, but here are seven of the key signs of depression from bipolar disorder:

  1. feeling sad or hopeless for long periods of time
  2. withdrawing from friends and family
  3. losing interest in activities that you once enjoyed
  4. having a significant change in appetite
  5. feeling severe fatigue or lack of energy
  6. having problems with memory, concentration, and decision making
  7. thinking about or attempting suicide, or having a preoccupation with death

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