What is Bipolar Disorder?
What you need to know about bipolar disorder According to the National Institute of Mental Health is that there is a high prevalence of it among young women in their adolescents compared to boys. Manic depression is another term used for it which is a mental health condition that affects activity levels, energy, concentration, mood, and the ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
Mood ranges from manic, hypomanic, or major depressive episodes. There are four different types including bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia), and bipolar disorder “other specified and unspecified.”
Manic, Hypomanic and Major Depressive Episodes
Manic episodes is a period when an individual experiences extremely irritable or high-spirited energy. This energy changes and can be clear to family and friends. These episodes are severe and it causes dysfunction among family and friends, work, school, social activities, or responsibilities. The symptoms of manic episodes last at least one week.
Symptoms of manic episode
- Increased activity (restlessness, working on several projects at the same time)
- Uncontrollable racing thoughts
- Quickly changing ideas or topics when speaking
- Increased pace when speaking/ Fast speech
- Increased risky behaviors (Spending sprees or reckless driving)
- Decreased need for sleep (Feeling of high energy despite having less sleep than usual)
- Feeling extremely touchy or irritable
- Feeling jumpy or more active than usual
- Excessive appetite for food, drinking, or pleasurable activities
- Feeling unusually powerful or talented
Hypomanic episodes are less severe of manic symptoms and do not lead to major issues in daily functioning. The symptoms of hypomanic episodes only last four days in a row.
Major Depressive Episodes
Major depressive episode is a period when an individual experiences extreme low or depressive energy and loses interest in most activities. The symptoms of major depressive episodes lasts at least two weeks.
Symptoms of major depressive episodes are:
- Feeling extremely sad, down, or anxious
- Trouble concentrating
- Lack interest in most activities
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Slow speech
- Feeling of not being able to find anything
- Feeling of not being able to do simple tasks
- Trouble sleeping
- Sleeping too much
- Thoughts about death or suicide
Bipolar I disorder, Bipolar II disorder, Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia), and Bipolar disorder “other specified and unspecified.”
Bipolar I disorder
Bipolar I disorders are manic episodes that last at least a week or when an individual has manic symptoms that are so severe immediate hospital care is needed. Depressive episodes are also common and last at least two weeks. This can can involve mixed episodes.
Bipolar II disorder
Bipolar II disorders are depressive episodes and also involve hypomanic episodes instead of manic episodes.
Cyclothymic disorders also known as cyclothymia include depressive and hypomanic symptoms. However, the symptoms often last for at least one year in children and teenagers and two years in adults.
Bipolar disorder “other specified” and “unspecified”
“Other specified” and “unspecified” occurs when an individual does not meet the criteria for the three types of disorders (Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymia), but still experience abnormal mood elevation.
Currently there has not been a discovery determining the single cause. However, there are several factors that may contribute that include genetics, stress, and brain structure and function.
There are different ways to treat and manage which are:
- Psychotherapy (Family-focused therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy)
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
- Complementary health approaches (Meditation and Aerobic exercise)
- Self-management strategies
It’s Fetch is a community that provides a safe space for members to discuss health and wellness topics. We provide access to archived health related content, note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content shared, regardless of date should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
-Written by Karen Manalac
Bipolar disorder. (n.d.-a). National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder
Bipolar disorder. (n.d.-b). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9294-bipolar-disorder
Bipolar disorder. (n.d.-c). [Text]. Retrieved October 1, 2022, from
Bipolar disorder | nami: National alliance on mental illness. (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2022, from
What Are Bipolar Disorders? (2021, January). American Psychiatric Association. https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/bipolar-disorders/what-are-bipolar-disorders