Bipolar Disorder 1-2

                                                      Bipolar Disorder
                                   ©Udis Sanchez Manalansan-Lord, Ph.D.
Definition:  Bipolar disorder is an extended  mood swing from extremely high, sad, hopeless, irritable with a short or extended stable moods in between.  These are called episodes that are recurrent over time and severe in intensity.
Causes: Bipolar disorder is caused by the instability in the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain, that affects the brain’s biochemistry.
            It is genetically inherited. Those with bipolar disorder are more vulnerable to  the negative impact of stress, which usually triggers its occurrence.
            Other triggers are lack of sleep and trauma.
            Children who had been abused are more likely to suffer bipolar disorder in their adolescent years.
Symptoms:  The symptom of bipolar disorder  is the extreme shifts in mood from extremely high, which sometimes results in irritability, also known as mania to severe sadness and  hopeless, or depression.
            These mood swings can occur over years, weeks, days or hours.  They can be mild, moderate or severe. It is a continuous mood swing.
Symptoms of Mania:  This is an elevated mood, that is accompanied by at least three of the symptoms  listed  below that occurs most of the day, nearly everyday for a week or longer:
  1. Denial that something is wrong.
  2. Increased energy, activity and restlessness
  3. Aggressive, provocative behavior
  4. Euphoric, excessively high, overly good behavior
  5. Drug abuse, especially cocaine, alcohol and sleeping pills
  6. Extreme irritability
  7. Dangerous sexual behavior and increased sexual drive
  8. Racing thoughts that jump from one idea to the other that confuse the listener.
  9. Fast talking
  10. Unusual behavior
  11. Distractability
  12. Spending sprees
  13. Having a lot of energy without any sleep
  14. Poor judgment
  15. Unrealistic feeling of greatness, power or importance
Symptoms of Depression: Depressive episodes  of bipolar disorder that last most of the day, nearly everyday, for  two weeks or longer.
  1. Suicidal thoughts
  2. Lasting feeling of emptiness, sadness and anxiety
  3. Chronic pain that are not caused by illness or injury
  4. Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness and guilt
  5. Unintended weight gain/loss and change in appetite
  6. Loss of enjoyment of activities once enjoyed
  7. Inability to sleep or oversleeping
  8. Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue
  9. Difficulty in making decision, concentration and remembering
  10. Crying spells
Types of Bipolar
  1. Ultra-rapid cycling:  this is usually caused by a combination of bipolar disorder and substance abuse.
  2. Sever and Mixed:  This is a psychosis that is accompanied by delusions of greatness and hallucinations; that is seeing, hearing and sensing things that are imagined.  Oftentimes, this is misdiagnosed as schizophrenia.  Symptoms can occur at the same time; such as suicidal thoughts, depression and high energy all at the same time.
Helpful Resources:
On-Line Screening Resources
  1.  Mood Disorders Questionnaire (MDQ).
  2. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
  3. Bipolar Screening Test.
  4. Screening for Bipolar Spectrum Disorders.
For further information, read Dr. Lord's Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder and Other Learning Disabilities:  A Guide to Their Understanding and Management, available at
Dr. Lord is available as a speaker and for media interview.