Bipolar disorder Frequently Asked Questions If I experience mood swings does that mean I have bipolar? No, everyone has good and not so good days and experiences mood swings. The Bipolar UK mood scale is from 0 to 10 and those not affected by bipolar will experience mood swings between 4 and 6 on the mood scale. If you have bipolar, your mood swings go above stable levels anywhere between a 6 and 10. With bipolar when you experience depression it falls below 4 to as low as suicidal depression of 0. Also the periods of extreme mood usually last longer than a couple of days, more often it lasts weeks or months. Hypomania (6 to 8 on the mood scale) Someone experiencing hypomania can seem very self confident and euphoric but may react with sudden anger, impatience or irritability for the slightest reason. They may become easily distracted, more talkative or challenging. They may become more reckless than usual, which might mean errors of judgement, sometimes involving spending too much money or taking on more than they can cope with. Some people try to deal with their mood swings by self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. Mania (8 to 10 on the mood scale) Someone experiencing mania may not recognise it is happening. They may think or speak in an incoherent, rapid or disjointed way or be easily distracted. Other symptoms may include verbal aggression, paranoia and hallucinations affecting vision or perception. Grandiose delusions or ideas can occur where the sense of identity and self have been distorted by the illness. Sometimes the term psychosis (losing touch with reality) is used to describe these symptoms. Depression (4 to 0 on the mood scale) Most people with bipolar will experience severe depression at some time. Usually this will follow a period of mania or hypomania. For some people depression is more likely to occur during the winter months. Common symptoms experienced during depression include: feelings of emptiness or worthlessness (as opposed to sadness), loss of energy and motivation for everyday activities, pessimism and negativity. Thoughts of death and suicide are also common symptoms.