We all know bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. The diagnostic and statistical manual currently lists five types. There’s bipolar 1, 11, cyclothymia disorder, plus unspecified types of bipolar. People that suffer from bipolar have high and low mood swings, in other words periods of mania and depression.
The actual duration and intensity of these episodes enable mental health professionals to determine which subtype of the condition a person has.
Types of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar 1: This involves a manic episode that lasts 7 days or more, or could be severe enough to be hospitalised. The person can also have a major depressive episode that could last for 2 weeks or more. The person doesn’t necessarily have to experience this type of episode to be diagnosed with type 1 bipolar.
Bipolar 11: This involves both mania and depression, but this is not as severe as bipolar 1. Doctors call this manic episode hypomania. People with this type of bipolar may experience a major depressive episode followed by a manic episode.
Cyclothymic disorder: Also known as cyclothymia. This type includes hypomania and depression that last for 2 years or more in adults or 1 year in children. These symptoms don’t fit the criteria of a fully manic or depressive episode.
Other types: People that have these disorders experience symptoms that don’t fall into the above categories. These symptoms might stem from drug or alcohol use, or medical conditions like bipolar 1 and 11 are the most common subtypes, with bipolar 1 being the most severe with regards to a manic episode. People may experience periods of feeling fairly stable, that can change over time.
Mania: Manic episodes are extreme highs, where a person might experience anger or irritability. The symptoms include:
- Difficulty in sleeping or need less sleep.
- High energy levels and being overactive.
- Cannot make decisions.
- High self-esteem.
- Intense excitement and enthusiasm.
- Racing thoughts.
- reckless behaviour, like risky sexual behaviour.
- Pleasure seeking, like alcohol or drug use.
These manic periods can have a big impact on a persons daily life, these can effect a persons job or relationship.
Hypomania: These symptoms are similar to those of mania, but are less severe. But they can be noticed by others and can interfere with a persons life.
Depression: Most people with bipolar experience this condition most of the time. These symptoms include:
- Sadness and feeling hopeless.
- Low energy and fatigue.
- Loss of appetite or overeating.
- Insomnia or oversleeping.
- Loss of concentration.
- Low self-esteem.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Aches and pains for no apparent reason.
These symptoms must last for 2 weeks for professionals to class this as depression.
Bipolar 1 and 11 might cause additional symptoms like anxiety or psychosis. Psychotic episodes people experience hallucinations or delusions. People with bipolar 1 and 11 may experience “rapid cycling” which is when a person has at least 4 episodes in the previous year. These rapid cycling episodes can shift from the opposite mood, such as mania and depression.
Bipolar disorder in children.
Bipolar diagnosis in children can be difficult. This is because the signs can resemble regular development in highs and lows. The symptoms and patterns in teenagers and children can differ from the symptoms in adults.