Bipolar Defined: The etymology of the word bipolar is: “having two poles,” from bi- + polar; 1810 with figurative sense of “of double aspect;” 1859 with reference to physiology. Psychiatric use in reference to what had been called manic-depressive psychosis is said to have begun 1957 with German psychiatrist Karl Leonhard. The term became popular early 1990s. Bipolar disorder was in DSM III (1980).
The types of Bipolar Disorder are Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia), and BP-NOS (Bipolar not otherwise specified)
Mania in bipolar disorder is a period of typically three to four of the following: rapid thoughts and speech, excessive spending, lack of sleep, disorder in thought and behavior, poor and impulsive judgment, abuse of drugs or alcohol, hypersexuality. Some people may experience psychosis.
Hypomania is mania to a lesser degree. Thoughts not as rapid, judgement not as poor. Hypomania is still a dangerous condition for the bipolar patient and should be taken seriously. Any behavior of mania can occur during a hyopmania without warning.
Often misdiagnosed as depression, bipolar depression will come after a mania or hypomania that the patient thought was a “good mood” and missed that they were in a manic state. Bipolar depression can take years to diagnose for this reason. Like other forms of depression, biopolar depression causes either fatigue or sleeplessness, disruption in eating habits, lack of interest in things the patient once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, dark thoughts of death and/or suicide.
Bipolar I is defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks.
Bipolar II is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia
Cyclothymic Disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder. People with cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania as well as mild depression for at least 2 years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS)
BP-NOS is diagnosed when symptoms of the illness exist but do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.