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Understanding the symptoms of bipolar disorder

People in the Kissimmee area who are suffering from mental illness might have heard the term "bipolar disorder" but are not fully aware of what it means. Nor are they aware that they might be able to receive Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions if they are diagnosed as having it or other mental disorders. Knowing the symptoms of bipolar disorder is important when the problems become so significant that a person's life is negatively affected and they believe they should receive disability benefits.

There are various types of bipolar disorder. For Bipolar I, a person will have had a minimum of one manic episode. Preceding or following it, there might have been manic depressive or hypomanic episodes. For Bipolar II, the person will have had a minimum of one depressive episode lasting for a at least two weeks and one hypomanic episode that lasted for four days or more.

A manic episode occurs when a person is experiencing persistent and abnormal moods of irritability, expansiveness, or elevation for at least one week. It can be less if the person needed to be hospitalized. The person will have an increase in energy and goal-centric activities. With a hypomanic episode, the person will be in a persistently elevated, irritable or expansive mood that lasts for at least four days.

There are many indicators that manic and hypomanic episodes are occurring such as an inflated self-esteem, grandiose beliefs, a diminished need for sleep, thoughts racing, being easily distracted and behaving unusually for that individual such as unusual promiscuity or spurts of shopping.

With a manic and hypomanic episode, there will be mood disturbances so severe that they can cause problems at work, school, in social situations and personal relationships. These symptoms must not be because of something else like substance abuse, medication or other medical conditions.

Those who believe they or a loved one are showing these symptoms need to understand that it might be bipolar disorder and there is the chance they can be eligible to receive disability benefits. An experienced Social Security attorney can evaluate a person's case and help them throughout the stages of the benefits application process.

Source: MayoClinic.org, "Bipolar Disorder Symptoms," accessed on Sept. 22, 2015

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