What is Bipolar Disorder? Types, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that disturbs a person’s life and its impact varies from person to person. According to a study by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), roundabout 2.8% or 10 million of the US population experience BPD. Today, we’ll discuss what is bipolar disorder; its types, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, or treatment.

A person usually gets the diagnosis at the age of 25 years, but the symptoms would keep on exhibiting either in teen years or later in life. It can impact both men and women equally.

What is Bipolar Disorder? 

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition and it makes a person experience a change in activity, energy, and mood level, and it badly impacts a person’s daily life. NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) outlines BPD in terms of changing episodes of high/low mood. It could be a change in relationships, work, behavior, focus, sleep pattern, energy level, or various other areas of life.

People usually experience changes in moods now and then, but the mood swings in BPD are more intense, and they can result in various types of symptoms. The experiences of some people are paranoia, hallucination, delusions, and psychosis.

When a person follows any type of BPD treatment plan then his/her mood remains stable for years. The treatment plan allows a person to live a productive life by studying and working. However, when the person stops taking medication after feeling better, then the symptoms would return.

Some parts of BPD could make a person feel good in the elevated mood swing like creative, talkative, and social. However, some of the mood swings could impact a person’s life like difficulty finishing a project plan to the end or paying attention to things.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

According to a study by NAMI, the differentiation among various types of BPD isn’t clear. However, some of the main types of BPD are as follows;

Bipolar I Disorder

  • A person must have faced the manic episode at least once
  • Previous experience of depressive mood
  • The therapist would check out the symptoms of other disorders like delusional or schizophrenia, and then diagnose the BP I

Bipolar II Disorder

It comprises an episode of hypomania, but depression is a major factor in it, and without any diagnosis to explain this shift. In the hypomania state, a person’s mood won’t remain stable but keep on functioning well, and the episode of depression would follow. However, people usually consider BPD-II mild, but it’s completely different. NAMI reported that people with BPD-II frequently experience more episodes of depression than others.


Cyclothymia has similar symptoms to BPD according to the UK’s NHS (National Health Service), but the statistical manual of health mental disorders and diagnostic classification is different. It comprises depression and hypomania, but the changes aren’t severe. It could badly impact a person’s daily routine life.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder 

The symptoms of BPD are different among different people, and they can prolong for many months and years. A person usually exhibits four episodes of symptoms in a year. However, some of the main categories of symptoms are as follows;

  • Mania or Hypomania
  • It’s a state of elevated more swing, and mania is more severe and intense than hypomania. Some of its main symptoms are as follows;
  • Rejecting or not recognizing that something is wrong
  • Fast thoughts come and go in haste, and the person acts on the bizarre ideas
  • Moving from one subject to another in the discussion
  • Talking rapidly and a lot
  • High level of self-importance, self-esteem, and self-confidence
  • Euphoric and exhilarating feelings
  • High libido
  • Involving in risky behavior
  • Getting aggressive, forthcoming, and sociable
  • Feelings of being capable of doing anything
  • Lower performance in school or at the workplace
  • Missing school and work
  • Sense of boredom and distraction
  • Limited sleep but not feeling tired or exhausted
  • Weird feelings
  • Judgment impaired

People with BPD involve in inappropriate and dangerous activities, consuming alcohol, recreational drugs, and spending a lot of money.

Depressive Symptoms

Depression symptoms in BPD are as follows;

  • Incapable feelings either to do work or go to school, and it lowers the performance
  • Becoming sensitive to smell or noise that others won’t notice it
  • Irritation
  • Difficult to remember and focus on things
  • Unable to show interest or enjoy the pleasurable activities
  • Extreme listlessness, fatigue, or tiredness
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Eating less or more
  • Misplaced or have guilty feelings
  • Physical pain or problems that aren’t responding to the treatment
  • Anxious about minor issues
  • Difficulty in sleeping or insomnia
  • High sadness
  • Feeling hopelessness, despair, or gloom
  • Suicidal thoughts and acting on them in severe cases


If the mood swing high/low is very strong, then the person would experience psychosis. The individual would have difficulty in differentiating between reality and fantasy. According to a study by International Bipolar Foundation, the symptoms of psychosis comprises false beliefs, delusion, seeing things, hearing voices, and hallucination.

For instance; a delusional belief that an individual is a famous person and has links with powerful and socially influential people. In the depressive state, a person feels being ruined or has committed a crime. You can manage various symptoms and implement the relevant effective treatment.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder 

There are various factors that cause BPD separately or in combination, and they’re as follows;

Environmental Factors

A life-changing or any type of traumatic event could cause the initial episode in any sensitive person like a significant loss, mental stress, abuse, violence, or something else.

Biological Factors

Studies have shown that hormonal or neurotransmitter imbalance could impact the brain and the way it plays various roles

Genetic Factors

BPD is common among such people their families have mental health conditions, and they also have a lot of genetic features

Diagnosis of BPD

NIMH outlines that if you want to diagnose BPD, then the person should exhibit the symptoms for seven days. The individual is also in the depressive episode for two weeks. The person would need hospitalization if the symptoms are severe.

The doctor would examine the physical body and perform various tests like urine and blood to rule out other causes and diagnose the exact problem. It’s important to keep in mind that diagnosing the BPD is difficult because the person would exhibit different symptoms and responses in high/low mood. For instance, if a person is facing psychosis, then the doctor could misdiagnose the condition as schizophrenia.

Some of the complications in diagnosing the BPD are as follows;

  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Anxiety disorder
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Using Alcohol and other drugs to deal with the symptoms

NIMH urges psychologists to study the symptoms of mania in order to avoid misdiagnosis. Some antidepressants could cause mania in sensitive people. However, it’s important to mention here that BPD is a lifelong condition, and the person would be stable over time, but the condition would be there.

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder 

Proper treatment could lower the symptoms and stabilize a person’s mood, and it allows a person to perform various functions effectively. Some of the main types of bipolar disorder treatment are as follows;


Medicines help a person to lower the intense symptoms and stabilize their mood. The doctor would prescribe various drugs separately or in combination, and they’re as follows;

  • Anxiety or sleep medicines
  • Relieve mania or anticonvulsants  
  • SGAs (second-generation antipsychotics)
  • Antidepressants
  • Lithium or mood stabilizer

Some of the drugs have side effects and they’re different on different people, and your doctor would keep on changing the medicines. When you go to the doctor, then you should tell him various things;

  • Other drugs that you’re using could react with other
  • Following the instructions of your doctors relevant to medication
  • If the treatment plan is working, then talk about its side effects
  • Keep using the drugs until the doctor says so
  • Medicine takes some time to work


Therapy could help a BPD person deal with symptoms. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a very effective therapeutic treatment, and it teaches a person various techniques like;

  • Allow the support of many friends, colleagues, or family member
  • Work on the triggering factors to stabilize your mood
  • Recognize symptoms of BPD episode and take steps to deal with it
  • Identify the triggering points to manage stress, etc.

Therapeutic treatment allows a person to develop a positive relationship with others at work or home. If BPD is among children, then the doctor would suggest family therapy.

Hospital Treatment

If symptoms are more severe, then the person would need to spend some time in hospital care. If the hospital care doesn’t show any progress, then the doctor would prescribe ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy).

Lifestyle Remedies

Some of the changes in the daily lifestyle could help a BPD person to manage its symptoms, and they’re as follows;

  • Performing exercises regularly
  • Developing a regular pattern of sleep to deal with sleep with disturbance issue
  • Healthy diet plan
  • Maintaining a regular routine in your life

If you want to use some supplement, then it’s better that you should discuss it first with the doctor. If they react with the alternative remedies, the symptoms would get worse.

Conclusion: What Is Bipolar Disorder? Types, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is bipolar disorder; its types, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment; we’ve realized that BPD could badly impact a person’s life. If you or any of your associates are exhibiting, then you should consult with the doctor for on-time treatment.