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About Bipolar


Bipolar Disorder Spectrum
  • Bipolar I - is distinguished by severe depression and full-blown manic episodes. During mania people might experience boundless energy, racing thoughts, grandiose self-image, intense restlessness, agitation, and reckless behavior (e.g., spending great amounts of money, hyper-sexuality, substance abuse). Sometimes people may also experience psychosis during acute mania (seeing or hearing things that are not there or having delusional thoughts). About 1% of the general populations will have Bipolar I (National Institute of Mental Health, 2003). Varying degrees of anger, anxiety, problems with concerntation and suicidal thoughts may be experienced by many people along the bipolar spectrum.

  • Bipolar II - is more common, affecting 4-5% of the general population (Judd and Akiskal, 2003). While people with Bipolar II experience depression, they do not experience full-blown mania. Instead, they have a milder version called hypomania. Hypomania is characterized by increased energy and a sense of well-being with decreased need for sleep and often poor judgment (although not as extreme as mania).

  • Cyclothymia - is another milder version of bipolar disorder that vacillates between a mild depression (or dysthymia) and hypomania. Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder - occurs when there are frequent mood changes (four or more episodes of mania and/or depression in a 12-month period).

  • Hyperthymia - another point on the bipolar continuum is characterized by high energy, confidence, and activity; it is more energetic than a normal mood but less so than mild forms of mania (hypomania).
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