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How Do I Know if Someone I Love

Has a Bipolar Disorder

By Dr. Larry B. Gelman

What is it? 


Bipolar Disorder refers to one of several complex and often overlapping “mood” disorders and is typically characterized by the occurrence of manic plus depressive episodes.


How does it look? 


Some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder on the “manic” side include: elevated, euphoric, expansive or irritable mood, markedly inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, “pressure” of speech, flight of ideas, distractibility, agitation and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities with a high potential for painful consequences.


Some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder on the “depressive” side include: depressed mood, loss of interest in nearly all activities of daily living, changes in appetite, weight, sleep and activity level, decreased energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty, concentrating thinking or making decisions, or recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation, plans or attempts.


What Should You Do? 


If you believe that someone you love may be struggling with symptoms of bipolar disorder then an immediate referral to a duly-licensed and experienced mental health professional is most likely indicated. 


Although bipolar disorder can sometimes be an extremely serious and potentially life-threatening problem, the “good news” is that with accurate diagnosis and the right treatment, appropriate to the specific needs of each person, individuals with bipolar disorder can and do get better!

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