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Bipolar Disorder: Home

This guide provides resources on bipolar disorder.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a psychiatric disorder characterized by severe and unusual changes in energy level, mood, and interactions with others. The mood swings associated with bipolar disorder are unpredictable and range from mania (elevated or irritable mood) to depression (a mood characterized by loss of interest and sadness). Bipolar disorder causes significant impairment in social, occupational, and general functioning. (Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health, 3rd Edition)

Wooden blocks spell out bipolar

Who is affected by bipolar disorder?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are three major types of bipolar disorder:

  1. Bipolar I: Manic episodes that last at least 7 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. Episodes of depression with mixed features (having depression and manic symptoms at the same time) are also possible.
  2. Bipolar II: A pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes described above.
  3. Cyclothymia: Numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms as well numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years (1 year in children and adolescents). However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.

DSM-IV (ICD-10) Codes

Bipolar I: DSM-IV and ICD-10 codes are varied. Check the DSM-IV for the correct code.

Bipolar II: 296.89 (F31.81)

Cyclothymia: 301.13 (F34.0)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health,

  • Bipolar disorder affects 2.6% of adults each year
  • The average age of bipolar disorder onset is 25 years old
  • Community studies suggest the prevalence of bipolar spectrum disorders to be 0-3%

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