Bipolar Disorder can only be diagnosed by a Mental Health professional like a psychologist or a psychiatrist. There are signs to look for that can determine if looking for further evaluations is necessary. The distinguishing factor in Bipolar I Disorder is a Manic Episode. This is  a period when the individual has a period of abnormal, persistent, expansive, or irritable mood lasting at least one week. The individual may also experience psychotic features or need hospitalization to prevent hurting self or other. Bipolar I can also be determined to be Mixed where the criteria for a manic episode and a Major Depression Episode are both present nearly every day for a duration of at least one week. The characteristics of a Manic Episode described in the Diagnostic Manual are as follow:

  1. Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  2. Decreased need for sleep
  3. More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  4. Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  5. Distractibility (i.e. attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli)
  6. Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation
  7. Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences.

The same are described for a Hypomanic Episode with is characteristic of Bipolar II Disorder. The difference is that the episode lasts at least 4 days and it is “not” severe enough (like Manic Episode) to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning and there are no psychotic features.

Here is a great informative VIDEO about a young boy describing symptoms of depression and mania from the debilititating disorder Bipolar (I and II) and how his life changed when he got professional help.

professional counseling and care for the mind, body and spirit

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