Bipolar Disorder Stages

Stages of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood episodes. These episodes include stages of depression and mania, but there are other stages involved in an episode. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of each stage so your Mercy provider can help provide the right treatment.

Acute mania is marked by energetic or irritable moods and accelerated activity. Other symptoms might include exaggerated self-esteem, less need for sleep, racing thoughts, extreme distractibility and bouts of irresponsible behavior like spending binges, sexual activity and substance use.

Mixed mood state includes symptoms of both manic and depressed mood. Periods of depressed mood powered by the impulsive overactivity and poor judgment of manic mood can lead to a higher risk of self-harm or violence toward others.

Involves five or more of the following symptoms during a two-week period for most of the day or nearly every day:

  • Sadness, desolation, or hopelessness
  • Exhaustion, lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing and guilt
  • Irritability
  • Ongoing thoughts of death or suicide
  • Having no interest or pleasure in most or all activities
  • Unplanned weight loss or weight gain of greater than 5% or a daily change in appetite
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Observable agitation or restlessness
  • Not being able to concentrate or make decisions


Depressive symptoms can vary a great deal from one person to the next. Symptoms may also seem like a change in someone's normal personality.

Following remission of a bipolar mood episode, you’ll likely need maintenance treatment to delay or prevent further episodes. Standard maintenance treatment involves medication alongside psychotherapy.