Bipolar Disorder - Types

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What are the types of bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder has a number of types, including bipolar I and bipolar II disorder. Depending on how rapidly the mood swings occur, the episodes of bipolar disorder can also be described as having mixed (mood disordered episodes that last less than the usual amount of time required for the diagnosis) features or rapid cycling (four or more mood disordered episodes per year) features. About two-fifths of people with bipolar disorder have at least one period of rapid cycling over the course of their lifetime. For every type and duration of the illness, the sufferer experiences significant problems with his or her functioning at school, at work, or socially, may need hospitalization, or may have psychotic symptoms (for example, delusions or hallucinations). The diagnosis of bipolar I disorder requires that the individual has at least one manic episode but does not require a history of major depression. Bipolar II disorder is diagnosed if the person has experienced at least one episode of major depression and at least one episode of hypomania (a milder form of mania).

Mixed features are defined as meeting full diagnostic criteria for a manic episode while also suffering from at least three symptoms of a depressive episode, or meeting full diagnostic criteria for a major depressive episode while also suffering from at least three symptoms of a manic or hypomanic episode. People who suffer from significant, debilitating seasonal mood changes year after year may be classified as having a seasonal pattern to their bipolar disorder.

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Comment from: queen bee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

I have bipolar disorder also generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). I have intense fatigue, racing thoughts, insomnia, very little motivation, self-loathing; the list goes on and on. I've been noticing in the last few months I have developed a verbal tic. I also have started avoiding people and I don't like being away from a result I don't go to a doctor. I have been on medications, but all the fun side effects keep me from them. I gained 5 lbs. I'm just going to the pharmacy to fill the Depakote. I'm at wits end so maybe I will make an appointment at the clinic. I'm caught between a rock and a hard place.

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Comment from: Chester, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

I have extreme trouble sleeping without medicines 2 to 3 hours before. I've been treated for depression for 7 years. When I'm manic it lasts for weeks. The side effects from most medicines were worse than my disease. I just started taking 300 mg lithium and 5mg Valium. My excessive mania was affecting my son. So far in 3 weeks he said he's noticed I'm calmer and I don't repeat myself as often. I also rely on DBT (dialectical behavioral training) to manage impulsive behaviors.

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