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The Initial Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder: Spot Them Early

Nov 12, 2007
Many bipolar sufferers are unaware that their condition exists. The initial symptoms of bipolar disorder, commonly known as manic depression, start to manifest during adolescence and can be triggered at any time.

Fortunately this disorder, thought to be a chemical brain imbalance, can be treated very successfully. The main concern is to spot the initial symptoms of bipolar early, so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and the appropriate treatment started.

If someone in your circle of family and friends has bipolar disorder, then you would already know the effect it has on their daily lives. Contrary to popular belief, individuals suffering with bipolar disorder are not always depressed and morose. The very nature of bipolar means that wild mood swings occur moving from high to low in a short space of time. These mood swings can be quite difficult to distinguish.

The illness is highly likely to recur frequently, affecting a person for their entire lifetime. The best long-term treatment is achieved by fostering and maintaining a strong support group. This of course is totally dependent on being able to spot the initial symptoms of bipolar disorder in the first place.


Correctly identifying depression is a tricky exercise, and can baffle even the most experienced professional. One obvious sign of depression is a sad or anxious mood manifesting over an extended period. Another can be lack of motivation or desire to participate in activities which would normally be enjoyed by the person, for example hobbies, sex or social activities.


The most noticeable behavior is a euphoric mood and increased level of energy. These characteristics are quite evident and easily noticed. Other signs include over generosity, spending sprees, hypersexuality (increased sex drive), loss of concentration, and grandiose feelings of invincibility.


In serious cases of bipolar disorder, the associated extreme mood swings can progress into psychosis symptoms, including delusions and hallucinations. While others can recognize psychosis quite easily, the patient is often unaware of them.


Sometimes a mixed state of a bipolar disorder occurs, where the sufferer simultaneously experiences depression and mania. Symptoms often include sleep deficiency, appetite changes and agitation. Patients with mixed bipolar states can be extremely depressed but still possess high energy levels.


One of the most feared bipolar symptoms for the loved ones supporting a bipolar sufferer is the appearance of potentially morbid thoughts. Any suspicion that a patient is thinking morbidly and contemplating suicide should be acted upon immediately. In such cases a 911 emergency call should be made as a standard preventative measure. Better to be on the safe side than suffer a tragic suicide.

If the true nature of a person's condition is to be revealed, recognizing the initial symptoms of bipolar is vitally important. Improper diagnosis can lead to a prolonged lifetime of suffering. All too often a patient seeks medical advice when suffering from depression, but they do not think it important to disclose their manic episodes. This is mainly because they feel good, and connect their manic periods with happiness and a normal state.

Research and study has now heightened awareness of this condition. More and more people are becoming educated and can recognize the initial symptoms of bipolar disorder. Information and guidance is now readily available through quality resources on reputable websites and from local mental health clinics.

How lucky we are to live in an age where the debilitating nature of such a condition can be halted by identifying the initial symptoms of bipolar early, allowing patients and their loved ones to lead normal, productive and healthy lives.
About the Author
Jean Littman is married to a bipolar sufferer and is co-owner of BipolarClues.com which provides quality resources and tools for bipolar disorder and manic depression sufferers and their loved ones.
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