What Are the Different Types of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar I and II disorders are distinguished from other mood disorders because they are marked by both major depressive and manic or similar extreme mood states that occur in cycles. Bipolar disorders may be diagnosed under six sets of criteria. If a person has had only an episode of major depression, he cannot be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar I, Single Manic Episode

Bipolar I disorder occurs when a person experiences only one period of a high mood state, mania, occurring with an abnormal level of euphoric feelings. The mania must last for at least a week outside of a psychiatric hospitalization. During the mania, the person experiences three to four or more symptoms, such as grandiosity, needing little sleep, being especially talkative, racing thoughts, distraction, overindulgence in pleasurable activities without regard to negative consequences and extra-driven goal-directed behavior. The mania must be severe so that it causes marked disturbances in functioning and may include psychosis.

Bipolar I, Most Recent Episode Hypomanic

The person is in a manic mood state with the other symptoms, but her elevated mood is not as disturbing to her overall functioning, and no psychosis is present.

Bipolar I, Most Recent Episode Manic

The person has experienced at least one serious episode of depression, mania or mixture of moods in the past but is now, or was recently, in a manic episode.

Bipolar I, Most Recent Episode Mixed

The person has had at least one past episode of depression, mania or a mixture of moods but is now, or was recently, in a mixed mood state.

Bipolar I, Most Recent Episode Depressed

The person has had at least one past episode of mania, or mixture of moods but is now, or was recently, in a depressed state.

Bipolar, Most Recent Episode Unspecified

The person is now, or was recently, in a manic, hypomanic, mixed or depressed mood state and has had a past manic episode.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II can only be diagnosed if the person has never had a manic or mixed mood episode. To be diagnosed with bipolar II, the person may have a history of, or be in, either a major depressive or hypomanic episode. The person experiences recurrences of both hypomanic and depressed episodes.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder occurs when a person has experienced numerous periods of both hypomanic or depressed moods of less severity than major depression for at least two years (one year for children). Cyclothymic disorder is thus viewed as a close variant of bipolar disorder.

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