An Online Community and Special Needs Resource

Trauma HQ

   Stress Coping Skills
   Symptoms of Stress
   Contact Us





Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes episodes of depression (sadness and hopelessness) and episodes of mania (severely elevated mood). These episodes commonly affect your energy level, behavior, ability to function, and your ability to think clearly or make sound decisions.

A common misperception is that bipolar mood changes are usually quick and drastic. In reality, mood shifts are often quite gradual. An episode—whether depressive or manic—can last for weeks, months, or even years.

People with bipolar disorder are not always depressed or manic; they can go for long stretches of time in a "normal," balanced mood. The typical person with bipolar disorder has an average of four episodes during the first 10 years of the illness.

Depressive Episodes

Depressive episodes are characterized by overwhelming feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness. Symptoms may include

  • Sadness
  • Excessive crying
  • Loss of pleasure
  • Abnormal sleep
  • Low energy
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Manic Episodes

Manic episodes are periods of elated mood, which can include racing thoughts, extreme irritability or reckless behavior. Symptoms may include

  • Inappropriate sense of euphoria (elation)
  • Racing thoughts; talking too much
  • Extreme irritability
  • Reckless behavior
  • Abnormal sleep
  • Excessive energy
  • Out of control spending
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Abnormally increased activity, including sexual activity
  • Poor judgment
  • Aggressive behavior

Fear leads to Anger