the sub-types of bipolar disorderThe premise of bipolar disorder was first pondered as early as the first century by Greek medicine, as Aretaeus of Cappadocia noted symptoms of depression and mania in his writings. Observances of a blue mood linked to mania were better recognized some 16 centuries later and mentioned by French psychiatrist Jean-Pierre Farlet. Nevertheless, the official diagnostic terminology of “manic depressive insanity and paranoia” came along in 1921 and set the stage for what would become known as bipolar disorder.

The disorder is sometimes referred to as manic depression and consists of symptoms that affect a person’s mood, energy levels, and functionality. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, around 5.7 million American adults have bipolar disorder. The disorder can often be difficult to spot, especially by the untrained eye, because it manifests in different forms that come with their own subsets of symptoms.

The average bipolar patient experiences episodes that last for three to six months approximately 0.4 to 0.7 times every year, per Healthy Place. The symptoms include depression and mania, too. Whether frequent or not, the shift to mania and back to despair is common in the manic depressive patient. Mania refers to a state of high alertness, hyperactivity, or elation that lasts for a week or longer. Depressive symptoms must last for at least two weeks.

Some sufferers can go for extended periods of time with no flare-ups or symptoms at all between episodes. Symptoms of bipolar I include:

  • Jumping from one idea to the next
  • Talking loudly or quickly
  • Lessened need for sleep
  • Substance abuse
  • Hypersexual behavior
  • Overspending
  • A grandiose image of oneself
  • Increased activity
  • Hypersexual behavior
  • Overspending
  • A grandiose image of oneself
  • Increased activity
This form of bipolar is practically identical to bipolar I, but mania remains in a hypomanic state and for at least four days. Essentially, bipolar II episodes consist mostly of depressive symptoms with mild traces of hypomania such as hyperactivity, jumping from thought to thought, and speaking rapidly.
WebMD states that 20 to 70 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder experience mixed states. These patients experience both depression and mania, which can be present one right after the other in sequence, or even at the very same time as one another. You’re at increased risk for this form of bipolar disorder if you developed the disorder during childhood or adolescence.
This milder form of bipolar disorder affects around 1 percent of the population, PsychCentral notes. Theses sufferers experience less severe depression and hypomania that persist for at least two years. In addition, symptoms must not fit the criteria for any other form of bipolar disorder.
McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web claims up to 20 percent of bipolar patients have rapid-cycling symptoms. This is the most severe form of bipolar disorder, and it is generally diagnosed in people who experience at least four episodes of serious depression, mania/hypomania, or mixed states during the course of a year.

What causes bipolar disorder?

As with many disorders, bipolar disorder is thought to stem from a melting pot of potential factors that act as combined causes in its development. You are at an increased risk of developing bipolar disorder if an immediate family member has it. Most sufferers will start exhibiting symptoms by their teens or early 20s. Additionally, altered development of the brain may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder.

Other constiderations

There is no greater prevalence of bipolar disorder among either gender. However, Everyday Health notes that depressive symptoms are more common in bipolar females, and males have more mania. In addition, having bipolar disorder puts you at an increased risk of having an anxiety disorder. Healthline reports that more than half of bipolar patients had an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives, with 30 percent currently having one.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse is highly common in the bipolar population. Among those in treatment for alcoholism, Medscape reports 41 percent had a co-occurring mood disorder, and 60 percent of people seeking help for drug addictions did. Another review published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism noted that 60.7 percent of individuals with bipolar I and 48 percent with bipolar II had a substance use disorder at some point in their lives.

Dual diagnosis treatment

Any addict suffering from mental illness requires a treatment approach that centers on mediating both the illness and the substance abuse problem. In 2009, the National Institute on Drug Abuse noted that 23.5 million people needed help for addiction. Among all mentally ill persons, 29 percent are struggling with substance abuse, per Helpguide. Thus, it isn’t a stretch to assume a great many of those in need of treatment are suffering from more than one disorder. Treatment is vital to keep patients safe from harm. WebMD notes that many bipolar patients attempt suicide in their lifetime, and 10 to 15 percent of them succeed.

Many of the tools used to treat substance abuse are also applicable in the treatment of bipolar disorder. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy has repeatedly been shown to be successful in remedying the mood swings among bipolar patients. CBT can help patients to identify triggers that spur symptoms as well as recognize them early in an effort to intervene and limit the damage that could occur in the wake of a bipolar episode. Most bipolar patients will benefit from medication treatment, including prescribed antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, or sedative-hypnotics and benzodiazepines like Klonopin or Ativan. Antidepressants and electroconvulsive therapy are also successful in treating bipolar disorder.

If you’d like more information on treatment for bipolar disorder and co-occurring substance abuse issues, don’t hesitate to call us today.

The Sub-Types of Bipolar Disorder
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