bipolar disorder

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Related to Bipolar depression: manic depression, unipolar depression

bipolar disorder

bipolar disorder, formerly manic-depressive disorder or manic-depression, severe mental disorder involving manic episodes that are usually accompanied by episodes of depression. The term “manic-depression” was introduced by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin in 1896. The manic phase of the disorder is characterized by an abnormally elevated or irritable mood, grandiosity, sleeplessness, extravagance, and a tendency toward irrational judgment. During the depressed phase, the person tends to appear lethargic and withdrawn, shows a lack of concentration, and expresses feelings of worthlessness, self-blame, and guilt. This dual character of the disorder has given it the name bipolar disorder, in contrast to the unipolar depression symptomatic of the majority of mood disorders. The symptoms range in intensity and pattern and may not be recognized at first. Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder may have long periods in their lives without episodes of mania or depression, but manic-depressives have the highest suicide rate of any group with a psychological disorder.


Estimates suggest that about 2 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorders. Symptoms usually appear in adolescence or early adulthood and continue throughout life. The disorder occurs in males and females equally and is found more frequently in close relatives of people already known to have it.. It has had notable incidence among creative individuals, affecting such artists as Hector Berlioz, Gustav Mahler, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf.


Therapy includes lithium (to control mania and stabilize mood swings), anticonvulsant drugs such as valproate and carbamazepine, and antidepressants. Electroconvulsive therapy has been useful in cases where other treatments have had little success. Psychotherapy can provide support to the patient and the family.


See F. K. Goodwin and K. R. Jamison, Manic-Depressive Illness (1990); D. Healy, Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder (2011); publications of the National Institute of Mental Health.

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bipolar disorder

[bī′pō·lər dis′ȯrd·ər]
A major affective disorder in which there are episodes of both mania and depression. Also known as manic-depressive illness.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Although it may be difficult to distinguish between unipolar and bipolar depression, especially in the absence of a history of distinct manic or hypomanic episodes, we find the following criteria to be useful in making that determination.
According to the companies, VRAYLAR is an oral, once daily atypical antipsychotic approved for the acute treatment of adults with manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder (3 to 6 mg/day) and for the treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar I disorder (bipolar depression) in adults (1.5 or 3 mg/day).
Secondly, it is important to note that hypersomnia is an atypical feature of bipolar depression and it is possible that this clinical subgroup of patients is more vulnerable to modafinil induced psychosis than patients without atypical features.
In contrast, evidence in support of the use of at least some of the second-generation antipsychotic (SGA) mono- or add-on therapy either for MDD [12,13] or bipolar depression [14-18] is increasing over the time, though additional safe and effective Food and Drug Administration- (FDA-) approved SGAs for bipolar depression are solicited [19].
The aims of this study were (i) to compare Quality of Life (QOL) of patients with bipolar depression to those with unipolar depression and (ii) to assess the association of different domains of QOL with severity of clinical Symptoms and level of functioning in bipolar and unipolar depressive patients group.
* Integrate treatment of bipolar depression into primary care practice
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* Bipolar Depression Rating Scale (BDRS) for bipolar depression
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In 20 chapters, a group of mental health specialists from Europe, North America, and Australia discuss the treatment of mania, the pharmacological treatment of bipolar depression, general guidelines, psychosocial interventions, physical treatments, the early stages of illness, treating the elderly and women, physical health issues, associated anxiety, co-morbidities with addictions, management of cyclothymia, sleep considerations, quality of life and psychosocial functioning, integrated care, training and assessment issues, and brain imaging.