Bipolar Disorder is also called manic-depressive illness.
It is characterized by an alternance of manic episodes (emotional highs) and depressive episodes (feelings of emptiness, sadness, low energy).
Manic episodes are characterized by :
– Feeling high, happy, optimistic
– Feeling extremely powerful or like you are invincible
– Talking fast
– Decreased need for sleep
– Being very active and agitated
– Having a lot of energy
– Feeling very creative, like your thoughts are racing in your head
– Being easily distractible
– Changes in diet
– Increased sex drive
– Reckless behavior : driving fast, overspending, putting yourself in danger..
Depressive episodes are characterized by :
– Feeling down, empty and/or sad
– Absence of joy
– Feelings of worthlessness, constant internal criticism
– Pessimism, no hope for the future, no hope of ever feeling better
– Low energy
– Having trouble focusing, paying attention
– Everything feels overwhelming or like it requires an enormous effort
– Increased need for sleep
– Changes in diet : eating less than usual
– Decreased sex drive
– Thoughts of death or suicide
The DSM V divides Bipolar Disorder in two types :
– Bipolar Disorder Type I :
It is the most severe form of manic-depressive illness.
This diagnosis is given when the sufferer went through one or more manic episodes that lasted at least a week or required hospitalization.
This type of Bipolar Disorder often leads to serious problems due to the level of disruption caused by the symptoms.
– Bipolar Disorder Type II :
It is a milder form of manic-depressive illness.
This diagnosis is given when the sufferer has had one or more depressive episodes accompanied by at least one hypomanic episode. Hypomanic episodes are similar to manic episodes, but the symptoms are less extreme. Even though it is milder than full-blown manic episodes, the sufferer’s behavior clearly changes.
My favorite websites to get more information about bipolar disorder are :
Hope in Mind – Resources for mental illness sufferers and their families
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