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Bipolar disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). As is explained by the Cleveland Clinic, bipolar disorder is a chronic mood disorder and mental health condition that causes intense shifts in mood, energy levels, thinking patterns and behavior. Mood disorders, also known as affective disorders, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine “is a mental health class that health professionals use to broadly describe all types of depression and bipolar disorders.” Mood disorders severely impact one’s mood and its related functions. There are a few types of bipolar disorder, which involve experiencing significant fluctuations in mood referred to as hypomanic/ manic episodes (e.g., a period of abnormally elevated, extreme changes in one’s mood or emotions, energy level or activity level) and depressive episodes (e.g., depressed mood, loss of pleasure, low energy and activity, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, etc.). Stanford Medicine asserts “bipolar disorder is really a spectrum of disorders.” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the four major categories of bipolar disorder include the following:

  • Bipolar I disorder: is characterized by a history of at least one manic episode, lasting 7 days or more, or severe mania that requires hospitalization. Although not necessary for a bipolar I diagnosis, the person may also experience a major depressive episode that lasts 2 weeks or more.
  • Bipolar II disorder: is characterized by a pattern of hypomanic (i.e., a less severe form of mania) episodes alternating with depressive episodes, without the full-blown manic episodes that are typical of bipolar I disorder.
  • Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia): is a cyclical disorder that is characterized by a chronically unstable mood state in which people experience highs which fulfil some but not all criteria for hypomania and lows which fulfil some but not all criteria for depression, lasting for a minimum of two years.
  • Unspecified bipolar and related disorder (other specified bipolar and related disorder): is most ascribed when a person does not meet the criteria for bipolar I, II or cyclothymia but has still experienced periods of clinically significant abnormal mood elevation.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


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