What You Need to Know About Bipolar Symptoms

Behavioral changes and mood changes vary depending on whether a person is in a manic or depressive state.

Multiple images of woman looking from right to left, dealing with bipolar symptoms.

Medically reviewed in February 2021

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental disorder marked by extreme shifts in mood and energy levels. These mood changes are sometimes so severe that they get in the way of daily activities

Bipolar disorder affects men and women, with symptoms usually appearing during their early 20s or even earlier. Bipolar disorder symptoms vary, depending on whether the person is in a manic or depressive state. Sometimes manic symptoms are mild, a condition known as hypomania. 

Symptoms of a manic episode may include: 

Mood changes 

  • Feeling overly excited, happy and energetic 
  • Feeling extremely irritable 

Behavioral changes 

  • Feeling impulsive 
  • Poor judgment 
  • Aggressive behavior 
  • Talking too fast, taking on too many projects and having racing thoughts 
  • Being restless or easily distracted 
  • ​Not sleeping or even feeling tired 

Conversely, the symptoms of a depressive episode may include: 

Mood changes 

  • Feeling sad, hopeless and depressed for a long period of time 
  • Loss of interest in once-loved hobbies and activities 
  • Feeling irritable 

Behavioral changes 

  • Fatigue 
  • Memory problems and trouble making decisions 
  • Having suicidal thoughts 
  • Feeling restless 

Manic or depressive episodes may last for weeks or months at a time and may occur at irregular intervals. Because of its unpredictability, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider (HCP) or mental health professional if you think you are experiencing bipolar symptoms, as the disease may worsen if left untreated.

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