What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by extreme shifts between emotional highs (mania/hypomania) and lows (depression). These shifts are disruptive to their lives and impact their lives in all realms. When they’re having a depressive episode, they are sad, hopeless, There are four types of bipolar disorder, which we have outlined below.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

  • Bipolar I Disorder: Bipolar I disorder is characterized by manic episodes that go on for a minimum of 7 days or are so severe that they require hospitalization. They generally also have depressive episodes, which usually last at least two weeks. It’s also possible for people with bipolar I to have mixed episodes, where they experience both manic and depressive symptoms.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: Bipolar II is defined by a pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes, but not full-blown manic episodes. Hypomania is essentially a less-severe form of mania, characterized by elevated mood but not feeling out of control.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: Cyclothymic disorder is marked by experiencing at least two years of frequent periods of hypomania and depressive symptoms.
  • Other Specific and Unspecific Bipolar and Related Disorders: This category is reserved for people who have bipolar symptoms, but do not fit into the above categories.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Mania/Hypomania

Mania and hypomania are different, but the symptoms are the same. The difference is that mania is more severe and causes noticeable issues at work, school, and in relationships. Hypomania often goes unnoticed. Mania can also cause psychosis or a break from reality. A manic or hypomanic episode includes at least three of these symptoms:

  • Feeling unusually upbeat, jumpy, or restless
  • Having an unusual increase in energy or agitation
  • Euphoria and over-confidence
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Decreased need to sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Poor decision-making — engaging in risky sexual behavior, going on shopping sprees, investing foolishly, etc.

Depression

To qualify as a depressive episode, symptoms are severe enough to be disruptive to daily life. A depressive episode includes at least five of these symptoms:

  • Depressed mood — feeling sad, hopeless, or empty
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Changes in sleep patterns — insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, and guilt
  • Indecisiveness and inability to think
  • Suicidal thoughts

Bipolar Disorder Therapy in Chicago

At Symmetry Counseling, we would love the opportunity to help you manage your bipolar disorder with proper treatment. If you’re looking for a therapist who is experienced in working with people with bipolar disorder, contact us to schedule an appointment.