A person with a bipolar disorder has experienced at least one episode of mania as well as episodes of depression. During a manic episode, individuals may have increased energy, grandiose feelings or beliefs, rapid thoughts, sleeplessness, and impulsive behavior. Depressive episodes are characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness, lack of energy, too much or too little sleep, and changes in appetite, among other symptoms. Manic and depressive episodes may be separated by periods of time where the person's mood is not affected. While bipolar illness is a mood disorder, some patients experience psychosis as a symptom.
The experience of an anxiety disorder or panic attacks may look and feel different from person to person. Some symptoms of an anxiety disorder include.
- Feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
- Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
- Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
- Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
- Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Major changes in eating habits
- Sex drive changes
- Excessive anger, hostility or violence
- Suicidal thinking
To diagnose bipolar disorder, a doctor may perform a physical examination, conduct an interview and order lab tests. While bipolar disorder cannot be identified through a blood test or body scan, these tests can help rule out other illnesses that can resemble the disorder, such as hyperthyroidism. If no other illnesses (or other medicines such as steroids) are causing the symptoms, the doctor may recommend the person to see a psychiatrist.
Medications and sometimes atypical antipsychotic medications are essential and effective in controlling the illness. As clients' active symptoms are resolved through medication and psychotherapy, they can focus on developing the skills they need to achieve their goals, whether returning to school or work or enjoying meaningful relationships. Provision of guidance and support to help clients address their symptoms through proven strategies like routinely getting eight hours of sleep each night, engaging in cardiovascular exercise, improving nutrition, and participating in positive leisure and social activities.