World Bipolar Day is being celebrated this year on March 30, 2019. It’s a global opportunity to spread awareness about this serious mental condition, increase understanding of what victims and their families often endure and end the social stigma against mental illness.

Bipolar disorder (which used to be called “manic depression”) is often confused with mere mood swings. In fact, it’s actually a complicated imbalance of the chemicals in the brain — and mood disturbances are only one problem that victims may experience. Some victims only experience manic phases — while others tend to have mostly depressive phases with only a rare manic episode.

Some of the symptoms of mania associated with bipolar disorder include:

  • An unnatural abundance of energy
  • Grandiose plans and the perception that the person can accomplish anything — no matter how unrealistic the goal
  • Difficulty sleeping or a total lack of need for sleep
  • Risky, dangerous behavior, such as compulsive spending, breaking the law, engaging in unprotected sex or using mind-altering substances
  • Rapid flights of thought and speech that jump around from idea to idea
  • A belief that they are superior to others

In extreme cases, the disorder can cause psychosis, where the victim loses touch with reality entirely.

At the other end of the spectrum, a bipolar victim with depression may experience:

  • A total loss of energy
  • Feelings of sadness or worthlessness
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping far more than is normal
  • Constant fatigue
  • A total loss of enjoyment in their normal daily life or favorite activities
  • The inability to focus

Some may develop suicidal thoughts, or even attempt suicide. At it’s worst, bipolar depression can also cause psychosis, or a catatonic depression that makes the victim unable to move.

Unfortunately, this disorder most commonly is diagnosed by 25 years of age, which is why many people who have it don’t qualify for regular Social Security Disability benefits. Instead, however, they may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, which is similar. If you need help filing a claim for benefits, talk to an experienced attorney today.