How to Identify Bipolar Manic Depression Symptoms in Adults: 8 of the Most Commonly Experienced Symptoms
Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is a genetic disorder that affects mood and temperament. People suffering from manic depression experience alternating periods of depression and elation, or mania. These mood swings can happen rapidly or over a longer period of time, and they can be extreme in nature. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person, but the primary signs of manic depression remain the same. This guide will help you to identify manic depression symptoms in adults.
1) Heightened Mood or Euphoria
Manic depression is characterized by periods of depression and periods of mania. During a manic phase, patients feel full of energy and euphoric. Patients often enjoy this phase, because they are in a great mood and can feel invincible. In some patients with severe symptoms, a manic period can be extreme and lead to a break with reality, causing the patient to believe he or she is a movie star or a billionaire.
2) Rapid Speech
During a manic phase, patients may begin to speak quickly and almost nonstop, jumping from subject to subject without reason. Often emphatic and loud, and almost impossible to interrupt, this type of aggressive talking is called pressured speech. Pressured speech is one of the most common symptoms of manic depression. A key aspect of recognizing pressured speech as a sign of manic depression is when the patient doesn’t typically speak this way. Manic depression patients will use pressured speech during a manic period, but not during other times.
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3) Risky Behavior
While a patient is in a manic period, an inflated ego and feelings of invincibility can lead to risky behavior. A manic depression patient is susceptible to spending sprees, irresponsible sexual behavior, and increased risk-taking during a manic episode. The exaggerated positive outlook experienced by the patient in a manic phase often leads the patient to make decisions that he or she would not make in other circumstances.
Extravagant plans created by a patient in a manic phase often go unfinished, leading to a pile of half-finished tasks. Manic depression patients who can harness the increased energy of a manic episode are sometimes more productive. The majority who can’t are quite distractible in a manic period, planning unrealistic projects and moving on to something else before the last project is completed. Patients experiencing mania can also have racing thoughts, which increases distractibility because the patients feel that they can never catch up with the speed of their thoughts, and they leave tasks undone while trying to keep up with the rapid pace.
5) Feeling Sad or Hopeless
A manic depression patient experiencing a depressive period will exhibit many of the same symptoms as a patient diagnosed with classic depression. The patient will have overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness, sometimes escalating to psychotic episodes, during which the patient can believe he or she is homeless or being attacked or punished. Common antidepressants don’t solve the problem for manic depression patients. Often, antidepressants can send a manic depression patient into a manic episode, causing other dangers.
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6) Loss of Energy
During a depressive phase, patients feel constantly tired and sleep as much as possible. Irregular sleep is a problem for manic depression patients in manic phases as well. A patient in mania feels energized even on minimum amounts of sleep, which can lead to exaggerated fatigue later. Many doctors advise manic depression patients to stick to a regular sleep schedule as a first recommendation in treatment.
7) Loss of Interest
Loss of interest in usual activities is a symptom many manic depression patients exhibit during a depressive period. High-powered executives known for punctuality will suddenly start missing deadlines and may even miss work altogether. The avid hiker and naturist will spend days or weeks inside sleeping. It is easier for social acquaintances to observe loss of interest, since withdrawal from social activities is a common component.
8) Restlessness and Irritability
Irritability is a symptom that manic depression patients can exhibit in either phase of the disease. Some people with manic depression experience mania and depression at the same time, a phenomenon called mixed mania. Patients who experience mixed mania are significantly more susceptible to extreme irritability. The difference between someone who is just having a particularly bad day and someone with irritability connected to manic depression is that the irritability in a manic depression patient becomes so severe that it interferes with relationships. Another telling sign is when the patient is only irritable during certain periods, exhibits mood swings during those periods, and has a feeling of not being in control of reactions to others.
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