There are four basic types of Bipolar Disorder: * Bipolar I Disorder involves periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression. (Joseph Goldberg, 2012) * Bipolar II Disorder is a milder form of mood elevation, involving milder episodes of mania that that switch to severe depression. (Joseph Goldberg, 2012) * Mixed bipolar episodes simultaneously include full symptoms of both manic and depressive episode. At the same time, the person is irritable, angry, moody, and feeling bad. (Joseph Goldberg, 2012) * Rapid-cycling Bipolar Disorder is defined by four or more mood episodes that occur within a year. Episodes will last for days. Some people also experience changes from manic to depression or vice-versa within a single week, or Rapid cycling can occur at any time. Rapid-cycling increases the risk for severe depression and may increase suicidal thoughts and actions. (Joseph Goldberg, 2012) * Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is when symptoms do not match diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. The symptoms may not last long enough, or there are too few symptoms, to be diagnosed with bipolar I or II. (National Institute of Mental Health) * Cyclothymic Disorder describes periods of hypomania with brief periods of depression that are not as extreme or last as long as full depressive episodes. (Joseph Goldberg, 2012)
Bipolar Disorder usually starts to develop in the late teens or early adult years, and usually lasts the rest of the person’s life. Even with treatment episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time. Between bipolar episodes, many people are free of symptoms, but some people may have continuous symptoms.
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder is done by a qualified physician and psychiatrist normally familiar with working with the disorder. There are no blood tests to diagnose Bipolar Disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMV-IV), and face to face contact are how the diagnosis is made. (Phelps)
Being Bipolar can be a severely disabling medical condition. However, many individuals with bipolar disorder can live full and satisfying lives. People with bipolar disorder may have periods of normal or near normal functioning between episodes. (Bergen, 1999)
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder often begins with medications being given to balance moods. When the symptoms are under control the doctor will determine a long-term treatment. Maintaining treatment is important to manage the disorder. If not maintained there is a very great risk of symptoms coming back. Substance abuse can also be a problem with bipolar disorder. It is very hard to manage and treat and would also require substance abuse treatment.