Do You Have Bipolar Disorder?

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • While only a qualified doctor can make a diagnosis of bipolar, there are certainly symptoms and behaviors that might make you suspect that you, a loved one or a friend may have this illness.


    Having shifting moods, of course, doesn't have to indicate a mental illness. For someone to be excited for days about an upcoming party, then suffer a letdown when it's over, is normal. If that same person exhibits reckless, over-the-top behavior before the party - for example, buying 15 new outfits rather than just trying them on at the store - and then plunges into a frighteningly severe low mood afterward, talking about suicide ... then you need to be seriously worried.

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    Some questions to ask when you suspect you or someone else may have bipolar disorder:

    • How high are the highs, and how low are the lows?

    • Do the highs include reckless and/or uncharacteristic behavior such as irresponsible spending, careless driving, shoplifting, needing very little sleep, talking too loud or too fast?

    • Is there an increased interest in sexual activity - which may escalate into an obsession with pornography, infidelity or seeking new sexual partners?

    • Does the person express irrational fears, unrealistic beliefs (both forms of delusions), or speak of hallucinations?

    • During low periods, do you feel as if you don't want to get out of bed, that the simplest tasks are beyond your strength, that you have no energy?

    • Do the lows include severe fatigue, suicidal thoughts, unexplained crying, and/or loss of interest in things usually enjoyed?

    • And is there a pattern of recurrence of the highs and lows, possibly without any external event to cause the mood changes?

    You should know, too, that the "high" moods might not be happy ones. Extreme irritability and anxiety can accompany mania and hypomania as well as depression.


    These are only some of the possible symptoms of bipolar disorder. If you recognize them in yourself or someone you care about, a psychiatric or medical consultation is needed.

Published On: July 18, 2011