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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that has 2 components (from the word “bi”)- a depressive and a manic component. The depressive component comes from depression and the manic component describes mania which is defined as great excitement, euphoria, delusions and/or over activity. There are two types of bipolar disorder:

Bipolar I- Mostly mania compared to depression

Biplar II- More depression compared to mania

Bipolar Disorder is usually diagnosed using some key symptoms from the mnemonic DIG FAST:

D- distractability. A bipolar patient is easily distracted and unable to focus on any one task.

I- impulsiveness. Bipolar patients are unpredictable and can be quite spontaneous. Some have been reported to spend huge sums of money on random shopping sprees

G- grandiose ideas or thinking. This is when a normal person thinks they are highly important individuals in the society even though they are not

F- flight of ideas. You can be talking to a bipolar patient about sea horses in one sentence and in the next sentence they are describing what they had for dinner last night

A- activity level is markedly increased. Bipolar patients are very hyperactive.

S- sleep is decrease. Its typical for patients to present with no sleep all week during a manic episode

T- talkativeness. Patients talk non-stop.

There is really no limit to the number of symptoms to make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder


Bipolar disorder is a very treatable condition and can be well-controlled as long as a patient is on medication.

Antipsychotic medications are usually given during an acute attack after which patients are placed on long-term maintenance therapy.

So…..based on this article, have you ever encountered a bipolar patient? What was your impression of them?


Anita Glover, MD is the Mental Health Ambassador for Engage Africa Foundation. She is passionate about creating open, honest dialogue about the myths,stigmas and truths surrounding mental health issues.

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