Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry


An Overview of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also referred to as manic-depressive illness, is a type of brain disorder which causes unusual shift in an individual’s mood and energy. As a result, the individual is less likely to engage and carry out day-to-day tasks due to a gradual shift to his or her  activity levels.

Sadly, people with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help only when they are feeling down or depressed, not when they are experiencing elated feelings which is often referred to as mania or hypomania. As a result, some are mistakenly diagnosed major depression instead. So in order to raise awareness about bipolar disorder, we have made a simple overview of what bipolar disorders are like to avoid mistaking it for other mental conditions.  

Types of Bipolar Disorder

In general, there are four (4) basic types of bipolar disorder, all of which are characterized by drastic changes in mood and energy of an individual. These changes range from periods of extreme energized behavior – referred to as manic episodes – followed by a transition to depressive episodes.

Bipolar I Disorder

This is distinguished by having manic episodes that last 7 days or more. Sometimes, manic symptoms are even too severe that the individual requires immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes occur as well, which usually lasts about 2 weeks. Oftentimes, people suffering from this bipolar disorder display depressive episodes with mixed features.

Bipolar II Disorder

This is characterized by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. However, individuals with this type of disorder do not display full-blown manic episodes unlike Bipolar I disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder

This disorder is also called cyclothymia. It is a condition wherein the individual suffers from various periods of hypomanic symptoms as well as depressive symptoms that last for 1 to 2 years. These symptoms, however, do not manifest enough to be accepted as actual hypomanic and depressive episodes.

Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders

These are the types of bipolar disorders that is not categorized in any of the three disorders mentioned above.



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