Bipolar Disorder – Symptoms, Causes, Phases & Types

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” –Buddha

Bipolar is a mental disorder in which the patient experiences sudden and drastic shifts in mood and behavior. Bipolar disorder also known as manic depression is different from your general mood swings that all of us experience every now and than. Behavioral changes associated with bipolar disorder can last for weeks or even months.

Bipolar disorder makes it difficult for the patient to maintain a happy and normal lifestyle. Your relationships and performance at work is impacted badly as you go through an emotional roller coaster time and time again.

Although bipolar disorder is a long-term mental condition, but with timely identification and proper treatment, this mental illness can be controlled.

The purpose of this article is to make you aware of all the important aspects of bipolar disorder so that you or any of your loved ones suffering from this disorder can be in a better position to cope with it.

Phases of Bipolar Disorder

The emotional extremes experienced by a bipolar patient can be classified as phases or episodes.

These episodes include:

Manic Episode – In this phase, the patient feels on top of the world and believes that everything is possible just like Bradley Cooper in the movie “Limitless”.

There is nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself and having confidence, but these beliefs become dangerous when they are blown to unrealistic proportions.

Depressive Episode – In this phase, the patient feels hopeless and indulges in self-loathing.

As the name suggests, this phase is often confused with depression. However, symptoms of depressive episode are much more intense when compared to clinical depression.

Hypomania – This is a mild form of mania or manic episode as the patient feels positive and energetic, but does not try to do anything crazy. However, this phase is tricky and difficult to identify because the patient is able to maintain a normal lifestyle. If left unidentified, hypomania can easily lead to manic episode and put the patient in some serious jeopardy.

Mixed Episode – This is the phase in which patient feels full of energy and yet hopeless at the same time. These mixed feelings and emotions are extremely dangerous and can easily lead the patient to self-destruction or even suicide.


The root cause of bipolar disorder is yet to be determined. However, research has shown that there could be two possible causes of this condition which are as follows:


Bipolar disorder tends to run in the families. The exact gene which makes bipolar disorder hereditary is not yet identified. Nonetheless, having a close relative suffering from this disorder makes you prone to it.

Environmental Factors

Studies have also shown that high levels of stress or trauma experienced in teenage increases the likelihood of you suffering from this disorder. Childhood abuse can also play a part in making someone bipolar.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be divided in to two main categories depending on their nature. These categories are Manic and Depressive.

Manic Symptoms

  • High energy levels
  • Feeling restless or not able to sleep
  • Feeling invincible
  • Inability to focus
  • Indulging in too many tasks at the same time as a result of unrealistic self-confidence
  • Talking too fast
  • Taking too many risks and making rash decisions
  • Hallucinations

Depressive Symptoms

  • Feeling sad and hopeless
  • Lack of energy
  • Change in sleeping pattern
  • Change in eating habits
  • Thoughts of self-harm and suicide
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Difficulty in concentrating due to negative thoughts

Did You Know?

Many celebrities such as Kurt Cobain, Van Damme and Marilyn Monroe suffered from Bipolar disorder. Learn how to cope with this disorder from your idols and heroes by Clicking Here.

Diagnosis and Classification

Mental health professionals usually hold a detailed discussion with the patient to identify the severity and pattern of symptoms. This information is than used to pin point the exact type of bipolar disorder that the patient is suffering from so that treatment can be provided accordingly.

Depending on symptoms and pattern of episodes, bipolar disorder can be categorized in to 4 different types which are explained below:

Bipolar I Disorder

A person is diagnosed with Bipolar I if he / she experiences at least one manic episode followed by a depressive episode. These episodes may last for weeks or even months. This is the most extreme type of bipolar which may require hospitalization for treatment.

Bipolar II Disorder

This type is characterized by at least one depressive episode along with one or more episodes of hypomania. This type of bipolar is often confused with major depression as the episodes of hypomania may go unnoticed. There can be periods between these episodes where the patients feels absolutely normal.

Bipolar Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)

Bipolar is categorized as NOS if the symptoms and episodes don’t follow any specific pattern. The symptoms change so rapidly that patient can not be diagnosed with Bipolar I or II.


This is the type of bipolar disorder in which the patient goes through short periods of hypomania and mild depression. This fluctuation of mood may last for 2 years or more. However, cyclothymia is not as dangerous as other types as the severity of symptoms is low.

Since bipolar disorder can be life-threatening in severe cases, that is why it is best to leave the diagnosis and treatment in the hands of professionals.

You can have anything you want, if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.” –Abraham Lincoln

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