Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health issue that only worsens if not properly treated. It affects millions of Americans alone, over 2% of the country’s entire population, and has a strong genetic component. This disorder is generally diagnosed in young adulthood, and can be a threat to the life of patients and those around them. It is therefore important to know the symptoms of the disease so proper treatment can be sought out at any sign of its beginning.

2000px-P_culture.svgBipolar disorder is characterized very generally by dramatic mood swings. Those suffering from it will experience periods of mania, in which they feel euphoric to the point of delusion, followed by bouts of crippling depression. More specifically, there are five distinct types of Bipolar Disorder. Be on the lookout for the below behaviors in those around you, as they may indicate a serious mental health issue.

Bipolar I Disorder: This is the form characterized by the most damaging mood swings. A person suffering from this will cycle between mania and depression for unspecified periods of time.

Bipolar II Disorder: This stage of bipolar disorder is a milder form of Bipolar I Disorder, in which the mood swings are not as dramatic. Those suffering from this experience periods of hypomania followed by depressive episodes.

Cyclothymic Disorder: Cyclothymic Disorder is the mildest form of the disorder, as people suffering from it experience only short periods of hypomania and less extensive bouts of depression. While this is the least problematic of all types of Bipolar Disorder, it is still a serious condition and should be treated as one.

Mixed Features: As the name suggests, this type of the disorder is characterized by a mixture of symptoms from all the other types. A person suffering from Mixed Features may experience symptoms of a depressive episode and a manic episode at the same time, for example, and will also suffer from excess energy and a restless sleep cycle.

Rapid-Cycling: Generally, the stages of mania, hypomania, and depression in Bipolar Disorder last for months. In Rapid-Cycling, the length of each episode occurs within a specific number of days, or within a single day. This results in increased anxiety and, therefore, an increased risk of self harm or suicide.

While remembering each type of Bipolar Disorder is a little difficult, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms associated with any form of the disorder. For example, someone experiencing a manic episode will usually talk very quickly, become involved in several new projects, have unrealistic goals, and will be very impulsive. The same person suffering from a depressive episode may report being often tired or lethargic, being irritable, having difficulty making decisions, and may be reporting suicidal ideation.

If you are, or someone you love is, experiencing these symptoms, contact a mental health professional for a consultation immediately.