What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a condition characterized by episodic mood swings that range from manic highs to depressive lows. It is sometimes called manic depression. While the term “bipolar” is often associated with extreme, disruptive mood swings, there are actually different classifications of bipolar disorder with varying degrees of severity.
- Bipolar disorder type I (BPI) is characterized by alternative severe depression and mania which leads to hospitalization or a significant impairment in functioning. In comparison, bipolar disorder type II (BPII) is characterized by episodes of severe depression that are punctuated by hypomanic episodes.
- Hypomania is a less severe form of mania that does not result in psychosis or cause impairments in social or occupational functioning.
- Cyclothymic disorder is diagnosed in individuals who portray periods at least two years in duration of both hypomanic and depressive symptoms without meeting the full criteria for hypomania, mania, or major depression. In other words, cyclothymic disorder can be characterized as a less severe form of bipolar disorder compared to BPI and BPII, while lasting for a longer duration.