Bipolar disorder is characterized by up-and-down episodes of mania and depression.During a manic phase, some patients can have a total break from reality.But hypomania, which is also a symptom of the disorder, is a high-energy state in which a person feels exuberant but hasn’t lost his or her grip on reality.
When it comes to mental illness, there are plenty of stereotypes.
But in reality, mood disorders can be hard to pinpoint—particularly in people with bipolar disorder symptoms.
"Chalking it up to moodiness or trouble at work or tiredness is pretty common," says Carrie Bearden, Ph D, an associate professor in residence of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and psychology at the David Geffen School of Medical at UCLA.
"The disorder varies in severity." Here are 10 signs that mood problems may be due to more than a quirky or difficult personality.
"They can be quite distractible and may start a million things and never finish them," says Don Malone, MD, the director of the Center for Behavioral Health and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio.
A person who is in a bipolar depressive state is going to look just like someone who has regular depression.
"They have the same problems with energy, appetite, sleep, and focus as others who have 'plain old depression,'" Dr. Unfortunately, typical antidepressants alone don't work well in patients who are bipolar.
This is the "up" side of bipolar disorder that some people with the condition actually enjoy—while it lasts.
Having a house full of half-completed projects is a hallmark of bipolar disorder.
People who can harness their energy when they are in a hypomanic phase can be really productive.
Those who can’t often go from task to task, planning grand, unrealistic projects that are never finished before moving on to something else.