Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

The symptoms of bipolar disorder depend upon whether the sufferer is experiencing a depressive or manic episode. A person must have experienced at least one manic episode to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Symptoms and signs of manic episodes include

  • elevated or expansive mood,
  • rushed or pressured speech,
  • racing thoughts,
  • decreased need for sleep,
  • poor judgment,
  • increased goal-directed activity,
  • impulsivity,
  • grandiose thoughts (thinking one has superpowers or special abilities), and
  • tangential speech (switching topics frequently).

Major depressive episodes often alternate with manic episodes in bipolar disorder. These episodes can be characterized by

  • feelings of hopelessness,
  • depressed mood,
  • decreased interest in pleasurable activities,
  • changes in appetite,
  • sleep disturbances or changes in sleep patterns,
  • fatigue, and
  • trouble concentrating.

Suicidal thoughts can also accompany the symptoms of depression.

Causes of bipolar disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. It is likely that both environmental and inherited factors play a role in its cause.

Other bipolar disorder symptoms and signs

  • Agitation
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Appetite Changes
  • Apprehension
  • Crying
  • Decreased Interest in Pleasurable Activities
  • Depressed Mood
  • Discontent
  • Elevated Mood
  • Euphoria
  • False Belief of Superiority
  • Feelings of Hopelessness
  • Grandiose Thoughts
  • Hopelessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • Increased Goal Directed Activity
  • Indulging in High-Risk Behaviors
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Loss of Interest in Daily Activities
  • Mood Changes
  • Poor Judgment
  • Pressured Speech
  • Problems With Concentration
  • Racing Thoughts
  • Rapid Speech
  • Restlessness
  • Sadness
  • Sleep Changes
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Tangential Speech
  • Unwanted Thoughts

Next Article
United States. National Institute of Mental Health. "Bipolar Disorder." November 2015. <>.