Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood and energy. It can also make it hard for someone to carry out day-to-day tasks, such as going to school or work or spending time with friends and family. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. They can result in damaged relationships, poor school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Children include

Symptoms of mania include:Symptoms of depression include:
Mood ChangesBeing in an overly silly or joyful mood that’s unusual for your child.
It is different from times when he or she might usually get silly and have fun.
Having an extremely short temper. This is an irritable mood that is unusual.
Being in a sad mood that lasts a long time
Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed
Feeling worthless or guilty.
Behavioral ChangesSleeping little but not feeling tired
Talking a lot and having racing thoughts
Having trouble concentrating, attention jumping from one thing to the next in an unusual way
Talking and thinking about sex more often
Behaving in risky ways more often, seeking pleasure a lot, and doing more activities than usual.
Complaining about pain more often, such as headaches, stomach aches, and muscle pains
Eating a lot more or less and gaining or losing a lot of weight
Sleeping or oversleeping when these were not problems before
Losing energy
Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

It’s normal for almost every child or teen to have some of these symptoms sometimes. These passing changes should not be confused with bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder are not like the normal changes in mood and energy that everyone has now and then. Bipolar symptoms are more extreme and tend to last for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least one week. Also, depressive or manic episodes include moods very different from a child’s normal mood, and the behaviors described in the chart above may start at the same time. Sometimes the symptoms of bipolar disorder are so severe that the child needs to be treated in a hospital.

Sometimes, a child may have more energy and be more active than normal, but not show the severe signs of a full-blown manic episode. When this happens, it is called hypomania, and it generally lasts for at least four days in a row.

Download Bipolar Disorder Parent’s Guide provided by National Institute of Mental Health >>

People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called “mood episodes.” An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Adults include

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include:Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode include:
Mood ChangesA long period of feeling “high,” or an overly happy or outgoing mood
Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling “jumpy” or “wired.”
A long period of feeling worried or empty
Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.
Behavioral ChangesTalking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
Being easily distracted
Increasing goal-directed activities, such as taking on new projects
Being restless
Sleeping little
Having an unrealistic belief in one’s abilities
Behaving impulsively and taking part in a lot of pleasurable,
high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments.
Feeling tired or “slowed down”
Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
Being restless or irritable
Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.

People with bipolar disorder may also have behavioral problems. They may abuse alcohol or substances, have relationship problems, or perform poorly in school or at work. At first, it’s not easy to recognize these problems as signs of a major mental illness. To diagnose bipolar disorder psychiatrist will conduct a complete diagnostic evaluation, including review complete history of symptoms and of discussion of any family history of bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses. To rule out other contributing medical factors, such as a stroke or brain tumor psychiatrist may order physical examination and laboratory tests.

An effective maintenance treatment plan includes medication and psychotherapy for preventing relapse and reducing symptom severity. Medications prescribed by a psychiatrist may include: mood stabilizing medications, atypical antipsychotic medications, antidepressant medications. Before starting a new medication, people with bipolar disorder should talk to their doctor about the possible risks and benefits.

Psychotherapy treatments used to treat bipolar disorder include: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Family-focused therapy, Interpersonal therapy.

Download Bipolar Disorder in Adults brochure provided by National Institute of Mental Health >>