Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Test
One test result doesnt make a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Instead, your doctor will use several tests and exams. These may include:
- Physical exam. Your doctor will do a full physical exam. They may also order blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
- Mental health evaluation. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. These doctors diagnose and treat mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder. During the visit, they will evaluate your mental health and look for signs of bipolar disorder.
- Mood journal. If your doctor suspects your behavior changes are the result of a mood disorder like bipolar, they may ask you to chart your moods. The easiest way to do this is to keep a journal of how youre feeling and how long these feelings last. Your doctor may also suggest that you record your sleeping and eating patterns.
- Diagnostic criteria. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is an outline of symptoms for various mental health disorders. Doctors can follow this list to confirm a bipolar diagnosis.
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Please note: Our screens are for adults only. By participating you acknowledge that the screen is not a diagnostic instrument and is only to be used by you if you are 18 years or older. You are encouraged to share your results with a physician or healthcare provider. Mind Diagnostics, sponsors, partners, and advertisers disclaim any liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from the use and application of these screens. If you are in need of immediate assistance, please dial 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 273-8255.
Bipolar Relationships: What To Expect
Ups and downs are natural in any romantic relationship, but when your partner has bipolar disorder it can feel like youre on an emotional rollercoaster. Not knowing what to expect each day is stressful and tiring. Over time, it wears on the relationship.
Understanding why your partner acts out sometimes or becomes withdrawn is the first supportive step you can take in strengthening your relationship. Learn exactly what a bipolar diagnosis means, how it could affect your partners behavior and what you can do to foster a healthy, stable relationship.
We Get Mean And Nasty Because Its A Symptom
When the world feels out of control, its natural that bipolar disorder would be affected. Sometimes this can lead to what we consider typical depression symptoms, such as sadness or lack of energy, but it can also lead to an irritated, nasty downswing called agitated depression, or a manic episode called mixed or dysphoric mania.
People with bipolar disorder get mean and nasty during agitated downswings or dysphoric manias because this is a symptom of bipolar disorder.
Its not okay, and it doesnt mean that we get to go around yelling and abusing people. But its important to know were not doing this on purpose.
I had this recent downswing because of having surgery. The stress and the anesthesia affected my mood. This is normal. I had a plan in place and caught the episode within 24 hours.
If youre a loved one who wants help to communicate with someone in a mean and nasty mood swing, please read more about my Bipolar Conversation technique. It works!
We can teach ourselves to recognize, stop, and hopefully prevent mean and nasty mood swings!
Bipolar Disorder: What Does It Feel Like
Bipolar disorder is an illness that produces dramatic swings in mood . A person with bipolar disorder will alternate between periods of mania and periods of depression . In between these two extremes, a person will have periods of normal mood. To help gain a better understanding of what it feels like, mania and depression are described below.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.
There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms.
Changing Your Outlook May Help
Sometimes it can be a challenge when you have a bad day, such as arguing with a loved one or friend, experience a financial problem, or go through an unexpected event. However, with some practice, you may be able to change how you view these stressful times.
Changing how you view events may help you see stressful events as more manageable. And, it may be enough to have a positive effect.
To start, try these tips:
Notice your thoughtswhen you start to get upset by stressful events, take noteThink about the factstry to avoid black-or-white thinking. Take a step back and examine the eventCreate a positive viewtry thinking of the positives regarding stressors. And remember, sometimes something that seems bad may eventually result in a positive
Try practicing positive thinking as events and stressors arise and see how it works for you.
What Are The Different Types Of Bipolar Disorder
There are different types of bipolar disorder.
What is bipolar disorder I disorder?
What is bipolar II disorder?
A diagnosis of bipolar II disorder means it is common to have symptoms of depression. You will have had at least 1 period of major depression. And at least 1 period of hypomania instead of mania.
What is bipolar I or II disorder with mixed features?
You will experience symptoms of mania or hypomania and depression at the same time. You may hear this being called mixed bipolar state. You may feel very sad and hopeless at the same time as feeling restlessness and being overactive.
What is bipolar I or II disorder with rapid cycling?
Rapid cycling means you have had 4 or more depressive, manic or hypomanic episodes in a 12-month period.
What is bipolar I or II with seasonal pattern?
Seasonal pattern means that either your depression, mania or hypomania is regularly affected in the same way by the seasons. For example, you may find that each winter you have a depressive episode, but your mania doesnt regularly follow a pattern.
There can be some similarities between bipolar I or II with seasonal pattern and another conditional called seasonal affective disorder.
What is cyclothymia?
A diagnosis of cyclothymic disorder means you will have experienced regular episodes of hypomania and depression for at least 2 years. You wont be diagnosed with bipolar because your symptoms will be milder. But they can last longer. Cyclothymia can develop into bipolar disorder.
What Can I Do To Manage My Symptoms
You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Selfcare is how you take care of your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling.
What lifestyle changes can I make?
Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery.
Routine helps many people with their mental wellbeing. It will help to give a structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose. This could be a simple routine such as eating at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day and buying food once per week.
Your healthcare professionals should offer you a combined healthy eating, exercise and sleep programme.
You can find more information about wellbeing any physical health at:www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/living-with-mental-illness/wellbeing-physical-health/.
What are support groups?
You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support.
You might be able to find a local group by searching online. The charity Bipolar UK have an online support group. They also have face to face support groups in some areas of the country. Their contact details are in the Useful contacts at the bottom of this page.
What are recovery colleges?
Unfortunately, recovery colleges arent available in all areas. To see if there is a recovery college in your area you can use a search engine such as Google.
Bipolar Disorder And Other Conditions
Some bipolar disorder symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses, which can make it challenging for a health care provider to make a diagnosis. In addition, many people may have bipolar disorder along with another mental disorder or condition, such as an anxiety disorder, substance use disorder, or an eating disorder. People with bipolar disorder have an increased chance of having thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.
Psychosis: Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression may experience psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example:
- People having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may have the unrealistic belief that they are famous, have a lot of money, or have special powers.
- People having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may falsely believe they are financially ruined and penniless, have committed a crime, or have an unrecognized serious illness.
As a result, people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia. When people have symptoms of bipolar disorder and also experience periods of psychosis that are separate from mood episodes, the appropriate diagnosis may be schizoaffective disorder.
Anxiety: It is common for people with bipolar disorder to also have an anxiety disorder.
Addressing The Stigma Of Bipolar Depression
People with bipolar disorder and the depression associated with it are often misunderstood by others. Stigma often comes from lack of understanding or fear. Inaccurate information or representations can contribute to both of those factors. It could be due to the way bipolar depression is viewed in society, including by friends and family. It could also be due to a lack of general awareness.
However, the fact is many people with bipolar depression have successful careers and satisfying relationships. These are just a few reasons why you should not worry about how others may view your condition.
If others express belief in the stereotype or just dont understand, it may be an opportunity to start a conversation with them about your experience with bipolar depression. However, this may be a challenging talk. Be patient with them. Here are some tips on how to start the conversation.
- Try to talk when youre well so you can plan for the talk and ensure it is a calm and productive one
- Explain your experiences and feelings so they can better understand what youre going through
- Let them know why being stigmatized is harmful and ask for their support
How Does It Affect People
Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder.
Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder don’t always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults.
Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just “snap out of it,” as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to.
Bipolar disorder isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw; it’s a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.
Could My Mood Swings Be Bipolar Disorder
We all have good and bad days sometimes we feel on top of the world and other days, if we lose a job, go through a bad break-up, or fall out with a friend, we may be down in the dumps. But have you ever gone to bed one night feeling euphoric and woken up the next morning to find you feel empty and hopeless? Have you ever noticed your high-energy levels and racing thoughts suddenly turn to feelings of worthlessness and an inability to experience pleasure doing the same things you once enjoyed? If not, its unlikely that you have bipolar disorder.
Several important features of bipolar disorder allow us to distinguish between the severe mental condition and the occasional mood swing. The first feature is whether the fluctuations in mood are caused by a situation, person, or event, or appear without cause. While the moods of people with bipolar disorder can be affected by situational variables, people with bipolar disorder also frequently become manic or depressed for no apparent reason. In comparison, for most people, moodiness is tied to a situational event, particularly stressful period, or even hormonal changes in the body.
If you are concerned about bipolar disorder, we encourage you to make an appointment with your doctor or mental health professional to discuss the specific details of your fluctuating mood.
Symptoms Of A Mixed Episode
A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.
Help Your Loved Ones Understand
Accepting your diagnosis is the first step. While it may be difficult, your loved ones may have a hard time understanding your diagnosis. It may even feel like they arent being as supportive as they could be at times. Thats why its important to talk with them. And keep talking.
To start and keep the conversation going
- Ask your loved ones how they feel about your condition
- Keep them informed of steps youre taking to manage your symptoms
- Ask them for support
Information For Family Carers And Friends
How can I get support?
You can speak to your GP. You should be given your own assessment through NHS mental health services to work out what effect your caring role is having on your health. And what support you need. Such as practical support and emergency support.
These are some other options for you:
- Join a carers service
- Join a carers support group
- Ask your local authority for a carers assessment
- Read about the condition
- Apply for welfare benefits for carers
Rethink Mental Illness run carers support groups in some areas. You can also search for groups on the Carers Trust website:
- Rethink Mental Illness: www.rethink.org/about-us/our-support-groups
- Carers Trust: www.carers.org/search/network-partners;
How can I support the person I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with bipolar disorder if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills.
You should be aware of what you can do if you are worried about their mental state. It can be helpful to know contact information for their mental health team or GP.
You could find out from your relative if they have a crisis plan. You could help your relative to make a crisis plan if they dont have one.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. But you dont have a legal right to this. The medical team should encourage the person that you care for to allow information to be shared with you.
You can find out more information about:
Is It Agitated Depression Or Dysphoric Mania
Judging from my own experiences with these episodes, as well as with my clients, its not difficult to tell the difference between agitated depression and mixed episodes, which I call dysphoric mania.
Dysphoric mania comes with very obvious manic changes in energy: The person will sleep less and not be tired. You will see changes in spending, sexuality, volume and speed of talking; an inability to let others have opinions; aggression, and/or risk-taking behaviors.
If its agitated depression, the person will still sleep or will be very tired if sleep is disrupted. Agitated depression isnt as physically energized as dysphoric mania. It doesnt have an increase in spending or sexuality, and the person will not be as physically aggressive as a person who is in a mixed state.
Another way to tell the difference is to look at the intensity of the symptoms. The symptoms themselves will be the same in each type of mood swing, but the intensity of the behavior will be much stronger in dysphoric mania than in agitated depression.
The Positive Impact Of Exercise
You dont have to go to the gym to gain the benefits of being active. In fact, aerobic activity, such as taking a long walk, hiking, going for a bike ride, or gardening may be enough to have a positive impact.
And, the time commitment is minimal. Just 3 days a week, for 30 minutes a dayeven in three 10-minute blocksmay help you to feel better.
Where Do I Go For Help
If youre not sure where to get help, your doctor, pediatrician, or other family health care provider is a good place to start. A health care provider can refer you to a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, who has experience treating bipolar disorder and can evaluate your childs symptoms.
You can learn more about getting help and finding a health care provider on the National Institute of Mental Health website. Hospital health care providers can help in an emergency. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has an online tool to help you find mental health services in your area.
Major Depressive Episode Symptoms
The third symptom of bipolar disorder is depression, which can severely impact a persons daily life. A person is experiencing a major depressive episode if they are experiencing five or more of the following symptoms:
- Severe loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in normal activities
- Noticeable weight loss when not trying to lose weight, weight gain, or changes in appetite
- Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or teary all the time. In children/teens, this depressed mood can present as irritability
- Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep, as with insomnia
- Having less energy or always feeling tired
- Feeling worthless or overly guilty
- Struggling to concentrate or make decisions
- Feeling suicidal or having suicidal thoughts
Are you in a crisis?
While bipolar disorder can cause a person to feel depressed, this condition is not the same as getting diagnosed with depression. Bipolar disorder is marked by periods of two extremes: Mania or hypomania, the up, and major depressive episodes, the down. In contrast, depression causes moods and emotions that are always down without any moments of high energy.
Bipolar Support: What I’m Looking For
“Support people of someone with bipolar disorder need to be patient, patient, patient! We are easily distracted, have difficulty with concentration and focus, forget what you told us 5 seconds ago, much less being able to remember to do something you asked us to do 5 hours from now. We lose things, misplace things, or just plain do not see things that are right in front of our eyes. While looking for that ‘misplaced’ item, we may misplace 10 more items. By this time, our mind is in a panic and total state of confusion. We used to be organized and on time, but now it can take hours to get organized and get together the things we need when preparing to get out the door to go somewhere. We lose our train of thought, what we meant to say comes out backward or the word we meant to say comes out a different word that starts with the same first letter. At times, we fly into a rage over seemingly nothing. Some of us get physical – most of us are not. To those bipolar support people and/or family and friends, understand that none of the above is personal. The irritation, frustration, and confusion that you feel about us at times, we feel triple that amount about ourselves plus add in a huge scoop of guilt and shame over our actions.”
“Bipolar support? Understand that you will never really understand what is going on in my mind, because I rarely understand it myself. Know that when I say, ‘There’s nothing you can do to help,’ that is probably the time when I need you the most.”
Participating In Clinical Research
Clinical research is medical research that involves people like you. People volunteer to participate in carefully conducted investigations that ultimately uncover better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose, and understand human disease. Clinical research includes trials that test new treatments and therapies as well as long-term natural history studies, which provide valuable information about how disease and health progress.
Please Note: Decisions about participating in a clinical trial and determining which ones are best suited for you are best made in collaboration with your licensed health professional.
Who Experiences Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder usually begins in older teens and young adults, with at least half of all cases appearing before age 25. Children and adolescents, however, can develop this disease in more severe forms and often in combination with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . Some studies have indicated that bipolar depression is genetically inherited, occurring more commonly within families.
While bipolar disorder occurs equally in women and men, women are more likely to meet criteria for bipolar II disorder. Women with bipolar disorder may switch moods more quickly this is called “rapid cycling.” Varying levels of sex hormones and activity of the thyroid gland in the neck, together with the tendency to be prescribed antidepressants, may contribute to the more rapid cycling seen in women. Women may also experience more periods of depression than men.
An estimated 60 percent of all people with bipolar disorder have drug or alcohol dependence. It has also been shown to occur frequently in people with seasonal depression and certain anxiety disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder .
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
To diagnose bipolar disorder, a doctor or other health care provider may:
- Complete a full physical exam.
- Order medical testing to rule out other illnesses.
- Refer the person for an evaluation by a psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist or other mental health professional diagnoses bipolar disorder based on the symptoms, lifetime course, and experiences of the individual. Some people have bipolar disorder for years before it is diagnosed. This may be because:
- Bipolar disorder has symptoms in common with several other mental health disorders. A doctor may think the person has a different disorder, such as schizophrenia or depression.
- Family and friends may notice the symptoms, but not realize that the symptoms are part of a more significant problem.
- People with bipolar disorder often have other health conditions, which can make it hard for doctors to diagnose bipolar disorder.
How Do Doctors Treat It
Although there’s no cure for bipolar disorder, treatment can help stabilize moods and help the person manage and control symptoms. Like other teens with long-lasting medical conditions , teens with bipolar disorder need to work closely with their doctors and other medical professionals to treat it.
This team of medical professionals, together with the teen and family, develop what is called a treatment plan. Teens with bipolar disorder will probably receive medication, such as a mood stabilizer, from a psychiatrist or other medical doctor. A psychologist or other type of counselor will provide counseling or psychotherapy for the teen and his or her family. Doctors will watch the symptoms closely and offer additional treatment advice if necessary.