10 Subtle Signs of Bipolar Disorder

When it comes to mental illness, the first name that strikes the mind is bipolar disorder. Bipolar is a complex illness and according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), nearly 6 million people (both men and women) living in the US suffers from bipolar disorder.

This is a kind of mental health problem where the patients experience mood disorders. Within a very short time the person can experience up and down episodes of mania and depression. For instance a person may feel happy and after a few minutes he or she may feel depressed. Apart from dramatic and unpredictable mood swings, there are many more different signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder.

But as the warning signs of bipolar disorder are difficult to judge as the signs are often confused with other health problems like major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or just plain moodiness. Often the symptoms of bipolar disorder can lead to life-threatening situations not just for the person suffering from it but also for those who live with them. This is why it is very essential to understand the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Here are 10 signs of bipolar disorder.

High Energy

When a person suffers from bipolar disorder, then it is very common to experience high energy state. During such a phase, a person feels exuberant but still has not lost his or her grip on reality. The extremely energetic behavior often make a person rush around and take on new projects and the person may enjoy excessive happiness, excitement, restlessness, less need for sleep, racing thoughts and a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.

Inability to complete tasks

Often people suffering from bipolar disorder cannot complete tasks given to them. This can lead to many half-completed tasks as often the person cannot plan properly when it comes to multi tasking. He or she will start a work and move on to something else before completing the previous task. Also a person gets distracted easily which causes many incomplete tasks.


A person suffering from bipolar disorder can have depression symptoms like sadness, loss of energy, uncontrollable crying, anxiety, irritability, change in appetite, increased need for sleep, difficulty making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide. Often the person dwells on past mistakes which can make him or her feel really bad. This is why a person may not take interest or pleasure in his or her life.


At times a person suffering from bipolar disorder may experience unusually upbeat or highly irritable mood. Normal irritability only lasts for a little while but at times it can happen for a longer period of time. Extreme irritability often creates problem in their personal life.

Rapid speech

Some people are naturally chatty or talkative but a person having bipolar disorder experience pressured speech. This kind of speech occurs when someone is really not in a two-way conversation. Besides rapid speech, a person may also be easily distracted from one topic of discussion to another.

Sleep problem

People suffering from bipolar disorder often have sleep problems. At times, they may sleep too much, while during other times they may not feel the need to sleep at all. Even after sleeping for a few hours, the person may feel great. Sleeping only a few hours every night is one of the warning signs of bipolar disorder.

Trouble at work

People with this disorder often have difficulty in the workplace because so many of their symptoms can interfere with their ability to show up for work, do their job, and interact productively with others. In addition they may have problem in completing their projects in a profitable manner.

Alcohol or drug abuse

About 50% of people with bipolar disorder also have a substance abuse problem, particularly alcohol use. Many people will start drinking alcoholic beverages in order to improve their mood when feeling depressed.

Erratic behavior

When a person with bipolar disorder is in a manic phase, he or she may indulge in activities they normally would not do. For instance a person can have unusual sexual behavior in an effort to slow down their mania.

Decreased ability to think clearly

Often a person feel like their mind is racing here and there and they do not have control over their thoughts. This flight of ideas sometimes occurs with pressured speech. People with bipolar may not recognize the symtoms or may not admit that they have no control over their miod. Due to this, it becomes hard for the person to remember things and make decisions.

Final Words:

In case you notice the above mentioned subtle signs of bipolar disorder in yourself or anyone else, it is essential to seek immediate medical help. For proper treatment of bipolar disorder you need to consult a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. With proper treatment you can easily control the symptoms of bipolar disorder and live a better life.