Bipolar I disorder is primarily defined by manic or mixed episodes that last for at least 7 days, or very severe manic symptoms needing immediate hospital care. The patient also has depressive episodes which may last for at least 2 weeks.
Bipolar II disorder is usually misdiagnosed. It is characterized by occurence of ≥1 major depressive episodes with at least 1 hypomanic episode.
Cyclothymic disorder or cyclothymia is a mild form of bipolar disorder. Patients have episodes of hypomania alternating with mild depression that lasts for 2 years.
Rapid-cycling bipolar disorder patients have ≥4 episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania or mixed symptoms within a year.
Mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder are implicated in the risk of stroke, which appears to vary among the different types of drugs, as suggested in a recent study. Carbamazepine carries the highest risk of stroke, followed by valproic acid, whereas lithium and lamotrigine have a null effect.
Individuals with attention deficiency hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety are at greater risk of developing bipolar disorder, according to a study. Moreover, the risk further increases in those who have received diagnoses of both ADHD and anxiety.
Cognitive deficits in bipolar disorder are neurodevelopmental rather than neurodegenerative in nature, a recent study has reported. Furthermore, cognitive impairment in bipolar patients appears to be stable, in the majority at least.
The use of lithium treatment appears to be effective in patients with bipolar disorder with suspected suicidal intentions, according to a recent study. However, risk for suicide is only one of the many considerations when providing clinical care.
Sleep loss may trigger mania or high mood episode in about one in four individuals with bipolar disorder, and this vulnerability is particularly pronounced among women or those with bipolar disorder type I, a study suggests.
There is less gray matter volume and reduced structural and functional connectivity in a ventral frontolimbic neural system subserving emotion regulation among adolescents and young adults with bipolar disorder who attempted suicide, a study has found.
There is no positive association between methylphenidate and treatment-emergent mania among patients with bipolar disorder simultaneously taking a mood-stabilizing medication, reports a new study. This is clinically important given that up to 20 percent of individuals with bipolar disorder have comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.