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Bipolar disorder can be present even when mood swings are less extreme.
For example, some people with bipolar disorder experience hypomania, a less severe form of mania.
Psychosis: Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression also has psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions.
The psychotic symptoms tend to match the person’s extreme mood.
Family History: Bipolar disorder tends to run in families.
Children with a parent or sibling who has bipolar disorder are much more likely to develop the illness, compared with children who do not have a family history of the disorder.
Substance Abuse: People with bipolar disorder may also misuse alcohol or drugs, have relationship problems, or perform poorly in school or at work.
The doctor can complete a physical exam to rule out other conditions.
Without proper treatment, people with hypomania may develop severe mania or depression.
Proper diagnosis and treatment help people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and productive lives.
Therefore, a careful medical history is needed to ensure that bipolar disorder is not mistakenly diagnosed as major depression.
Unlike people with bipolar disorder, people who have depression only (also called unipolar depression) do not experience mania.