Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Adults

There are many symptoms present in adults with bipolar disorder and, as the disorder's name implies, they range from one extreme in mood to another. The hallmark symptoms of bipolar are dramatic mood swings that occur unpredictably, typically in distinct episodes that last for one or two weeks. Along with changes in mood, an episode of bipolar disorder includes a number of characteristic behavioral changes.

Adults who are experiencing a manic episode tend to feel extremely happy and euphoric, or sometimes irritable and agitated. Behavioral symptoms include talking very quickly and jumping from one idea to another, being easily distracted, needing little sleep, showing impaired judgement, impulsivity and participating in risky behaviors, hypersexuality, and an inflated opinion of one's abilities.

Adults experiencing a depressive episode have persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness, accompanied by a loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities. Behavioral symptoms of a depressive episode include fatigue and general slowness, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, memory problems, restlessness and irritability, changes in sleep patterns and appetite, and suicidal tendencies.

Some adults with bipolar disorder experience mixed episodes, which include symptoms of both mania and depression. These episodes typically result in high energy, but depressed mood. Common symptoms of a mixed state are agitation, trouble sleeping, major changes in appetite, and suicidal thinking.

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