Bipolar disorder is characterized by drastic changes in mood and energy. These intense emotional states are called “mood episodes” and there are three types of mood episodes that plague this disorder: Mania episodes, Hypomania episodes, and depressive episodes.
There are also periods where the person’s mood is neutral.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder are usually severe enough that it can affect one’s relationships and their work.
The disorder itself is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain (where they either have too much or too little of certain types of neurotransmitters) just like many other mental disorders.
The average age where symptoms start to appear is around 25 years old.
Table of Contents
Writing Bipolar Disorder
A maniac episode typically last a week but can last longer. It is characterized by an intense increase in energy. A character suffering from a manic episode will either be extremely joyful/happy, very irritable or both. Another symptom of mania includes lack of sleep because of how much energy the person feels that they have.
They will also talk faster, start a number of projects that are sometimes grandiose and unrealistic, change their minds often and be prone to multitasking and working on several things at a time. An episode of mania is also characterized by a lot of risky behavior. These symptoms can oftentimes interrupt daily/normal functioning.
Sometimes people can even experience hallucinations and false beliefs during a manic episode.
The key element of this stage is that the character feel as though they have so much energy and their brain is so stimulated that they can accomplish anything and everything.
A hypomania episode is similar to that of mania episodes except the symptoms are less severe. There is still a drastic increase in mood, but the symptoms aren’t severe enough so as to disrupt daily functioning.
A depressive episode is characterized by a drastic decrease in mood and is in some ways the opposite of mania episodes. In the depressive episode, there is an extreme lack of energy, and the character may feel lethargic at times. The symptoms can last 2 weeks or more.
For a more extensive description of depression, you can read the following article.