Definition of Bipolar Disorder

2013 Bipolar Update

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A Definition of Bipolar Disorder

With the growing number of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it is very important to understand the true definition of the disease. This is because the wrong idea about the illness can help fuel myths about false cures and treatment procedures. By diving deep into the true definition of bipolar disorder, patients and loved ones alike are in a better position to do something about the illness because their increase knowledge of it helps them deal with it.

First off, the formal medical definition of bipolar disorder categorizes it as an “umbrella” name for a class of mood disorders that are characterized by mania, depression or a combination of both. This new definition of bipolar disorder has been corrected from its previous and more popular namesake – manic-depressive disorder. This is because a deeper knlowledge of the illness has shown that depression cycles are not necessarily present for a patient to have bipolar symptoms.

What sets bipolar disorder apart from other illnesses is that the symptoms are not common and necessarily repeated in all patients. As such, everyone has to undergo a battery of diagnostic tests in order to confirm the condition. Likewise, because there is no single definitive proof to confirm dipolar disorders, the illness can take some time before being fully diagnosed.

The formal medical definition of bipolar disorder requires that any patient should 789have at least one, or a combination of, the following episodes:

• Depression. This is characterized by a lack of gusto or a general feeling of sadness for no apparent reason. Guilt, fatigue, anger, and at the very worse, suicidal tendencies, are also apparent in depressive episodes.

• Mania. Contrary to false beliefs, mania is not the opposite of depression. As such, it does not indicate happiness. Instead, mania is generally typified by a feeling of listlessness, pressured speech, psychosis and hallucinations at the very worse.

• Hypomania. This is mania in a mild form. It is important to characterize hypomania as a separate cycle because it responds better to certain types of medications as mania does to other prescription drugs.

• Mixed Cycles. This happens when mania and depression are observed in one patient. In some cases, a phenomenon called rapid cycling occurs where the patient alternates between mania and depression at a relatively rapid period, sometimes less than a week for each episode.

Recognizing these symptoms that help affirm the definition of bipolar disorder is important because as mentioned, each requires a different set of medication. To be able to fully and exhaustively treat the illness without the threat of a relapse, the right class of mood suppressants is necessary to keep each of the episodes under check.

As a final note on the definition of bipolar disorder, patients and family must understand that each case is unique. Therefore, it is important to document or observe the patterns for a specific patient. This typically holds the key for the best diagnosis and will be instrumental in the long term for helping the patient get the right medical attention and response in the treatment of their bipolar disorder.