According to WebMD, the signs of bipolar disorder can be subtle. A major symptom of bipolar disorder is depression with infrequent episodes of mania. Many bipolar disorder patients are often misdiagnosed before the prognosis becomes clear. General symptoms of bipolar disorder include substance abuse, mood swings, impulsivity, recklessness and overconfidence.
WebMD lists uncharacteristic aggression, anxiety, grandiosity, sadness, tearfulness, restlessness, wakefulness, confusion and inattention as signs of bipolar disorder. Excessive worrying, anxiety and overeating are other symptoms of the condition.
The National Institute of Medical Health states that symptoms of mania in bipolar disorder include extreme irritation, talking fast, being distracted, choosing to take on unachievable tasks and partaking in risky behaviors. Symptoms of the down state of bipolar disorder include loss of libido, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and overwhelming fatigue. The mood swings of bipolar disorder can have a predictable pattern that occurs every few months or as rapid switching that occurs every few hours. Some bipolar disorder patients do not experience elaborate mania episodes. These patients may experience hypomania, which is a milder form of mania that makes the patient feel more productive during the episode. Many severe bipolar disorder patients experience psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions that give them the idea they are somebody they are not.