Bipolar Mood Swings
During their day to day lives many people experience peaks and valleys in their mood. No person's mood stays the same constantly, so it’s normal to experience feelings of happiness and sadness in the same day. But when changes in mood are prolonged and start impairing a person’s daily functioning they may have something called bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a type of depression that is characterized by unusual shifts in a person’s energy, general level of activity, and ability to complete tasks in their daily lives. A person with bipolar disorder has semi-regular “mood states,” which could involve either manic episodes (periods of heightened activity) or depressive episodes (periods of sadness or hopelessness). There are multiple types of bipolar disorder, several of which are briefly outlined below.
Bipolar I: Characterized by the presence of a manic episode. Some people with Bipolar I disorder also experience episodes of depression. Oftentimes there is a cycling of manic and depressive episodes in bipolar I disorder.
Bipolar II: Characterized by the presence of a hypomanic episode. Some people with Bipolar II disorder also experience episodes of depression. Oftentimes there is a cycling of hypomania and depressive episodes in bipolar II disorder.
Cyclothymic Disorder: Milder form of bipolar disorder characterized by symptoms of depression and hypomania for at least two years.
Bipolar disorder usually develops during adolescence or early adulthood although it may also occur in children. In the United States, as many as 4% of adults may develop symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder at some point in their lives, with 2.2% developing severe cases. If you have questions about Bipolar Disorder or believe you or someone you know may be struggling with this condition, please search our database of licensed psychologists to contact support.
To learn more about Bipolar disorder, consider these resources:
- FindaPsychologist.org: Bipolar Mood Self-Help Resources
- National Institute of Mental Health: Facts and statistics
- American Psychological Association: Myths and realities about Bipolar Disorder