A Brief Introduction to the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder pic
Bipolar Disorder
Image: webmd.com

Since earning a Ph.D. and licensed as a psychologist following a graduate program at the University of Maryland, College Park, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D. has spent more than three decades providing psychological support to individuals throughout the Rockville area. Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., treats clients for a number of psychological issues, including trauma-related stress and reactions, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is primarily a disorder involving Depression, a psychological condition that is characterized also by excessive mood swings or at least a single manic episode. It is usually known to the public as excessive mood swings disorder that carries an individual from the lows of clinical depression to the extreme highs of mania. However, many of Bipolar patients do not suffer from the mood swings on a regular basis or even frequently, showing instead mostly symptoms of depression. Because of the mood swing aspect, the disorder was previously known best as manic-depressive illness. However, we now recognize that episodes of unexplained or confused elation could also be a sign of the disorder even without frank mania. Untreated bipolar disorder can result in erratic, sometimes psychotic or dangerous behavior, sometimes leading to suicidal tendencies and frequently to major disturbances in social, family and work situations.

It is best to treat bipolar disorder medically and psychologically as soon as possible. Individuals with a mild form of the disorder, called Hypomania, should, therefore, remain vigilant for the advancing symptoms of the disorder. Common symptoms of bipolar depression range from long episodes of crying to suicidal ideation. Physical clues may also include insomnia and oversleeping, low energy levels, fatigue, and changes in appetite or strong agitation, mild depressing hallucination, and delusions.

Mania is most commonly signaled by periods of euphoria and impulsive, selfish disorganized gratification seeking behavior, such as a need for constant stimulation, travel, gambling, promiscuity. Manic episodes are usually very unsettling for the family and the individual. A manic individual can become irritated and angry, or may behave like a hungry addict, not only for drugs, and may report beautiful hallucinations and delusions, flashing colors or ‘visions’. It should also be noted that individuals dealing with bipolar disorder may struggle with depression and mania at the same time. As the reader might have noted, extreme symptoms might be classified as psychotic.