Bipolar I Disorder diagnosis or is it
You may be
considered for a bipolar diagnosis when you have had a full manic
episode for at least one week, where you display an abnormally high or
irritable mood, along with at least three other symptoms of mania.
Also, the episode may include psychotic features such as
hallucinations and/or delusions. When the symptoms of mania are much
less severe and the impairment is very limited you may be experiencing
a hypomanic episode.
According to the
DSM-IV, you may experience either a bipolar I or bipolar II disorder.
People with bipolar I disorder have at least one full manic episode
and at least one major depressive episode. Most of them experience
some alternation between the episodes, for example, months of
depression followed by months of mania. Some have mixed episodes
however, in which they swing from mania to depression and back again,
sometimes even on the same day.
bipolar II disorder, or those considered hypomanic, are mildly
manic with episodes alternating with major depressive episodes over a
period of time. Mood episodes tend to recur among people with either
type of bipolar disorder if they do not receive treatment. If an
individual experiences four or more episodes within a one-year period,
they may be classified as rapid cycling. If their episodes vary with
the seasons, their disorder is further classified as seasonal.
around the world have found that approximately between 1% and 1.5% of
all adults suffer from bipolar disorder at any given time. Bipolar I
disorder is actually more common than bipolar II disorder. According
to research, the disorders are equally common among women and men.
However, women may experience more depressive and fewer manic episodes
than men, and rapid cycling is actually more common among women. The
prevalence of the disorders is the same across all social and economic
classes as well as ethnic groups. The age of onset of bipolar
disorder is usually between the ages of 15 and 44 years old.
bipolar disorder may be quite persistent with either manic or
depressive episodes lasting for several months each. Sometimes,
periods of normal mood may last for two or more years while others may
last for only weeks or months at a time. Also, in the absence of
treatment, manic and depressive episodes tend to recur. Generally,
when episodes recur, the intervening periods of normality seem to grow
shorter and shorter.
When an individual
experiences several periods of hypomanic symptoms and mild depressive
symptoms, the DSM- IV assigns a diagnosis of cyclothymic disorder.
The milder symptoms of this form of bipolar disorder will usually
continue for two or more years, interrupted occasionally by normal
periods which may last for only days or possibly weeks. Similar to
the bipolar I and bipolar II disorders, this disorder usually begins
in adolescence or early adulthood and is equally common among women
and men. At least 0.4 % of the population develops cyclothymic
disorder. Also, in some of these cases, the milder symptoms
eventually bloom into a full bipolar I or bipolar II disorder.
Information from Abnormal Psychology Fourth Edition by Ronald
Additional information and
Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D Candidate (Health
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