Bipolar disorder was previously known as “manic depression.” Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings. When an individual has bipolar disorder, they will experience periods of emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression).
When the individual is on a high and feeling good (mania or hypomania, which is less extreme than mania), they may feel euphoric or have a lot of energy, but when their mood shifts downward, they become depressed and may feel sad, hopeless, and lose interest in most activities. These extreme mood swings can affect the person’s sleep, judgment, activity level, behavior, and their ability to process things clearly.
Common symptoms of manic or hypomanic episodes
- Easily distracted
- Increased energy
- Increased activity
- Doesn’t need as much sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Makes poor decisions (e.g. shopping sprees, foolish investments, or sexual risks)
- An exaggerated sense of self-confidence or wellbeing (euphoria)
Common symptoms of a major depressive episode
- A depressed mood, such as sadness or hopelessness
- A loss of interest in activities
- Not being able to feel pleasure in activities
- Insomnia or sleeping a lot
- Slowed behavior
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of energy or fatigue
“Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness. People who have it go through unusual mood changes. They go from very happy, ‘up and active to very sad and hopeless, ‘down,’ and inactive, and then back again. They often have normal moods in between. The up feeling is called mania. The down feeling is depression. The causes of bipolar disorder aren’t always clear. It runs in families. Abnormal brain structure and function may also play a role,” according to medlineplus.gov.
Listing of Impairments: Mental Disorders
Bipolar disorder is covered under Section 12.04 of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Listing of Impairments, which addresses mental disorders. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and it has severely impaired your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
To learn more, we invite you to contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to discuss filing a disability claim.