What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be divided into two categories: the highs of mania, and the lows of depression.

Symptoms of mania include elation, euphoria, high self-regard, very fast speech, more physical activity than usual, less need for sleep, great optimism, risk-taking, and poor judgment. Less severe than mania, hypomania involves a productive and positive state where people still may make risky decisions. Symptoms of mild to moderate depression include feeling hopeless and sad, fatigue, nervousness, irritability, loss of interest in day-to-day matters. Severe depression can include thoughts or actions of suicide.

People with bipolar disorder may sometimes experience psychosis, or a lack of connection to reality. Severe depression or mania can lead one to have hallucinations—hearing voices that don't really exist - or delusions - strongly believing in things that aren't true.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.