Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. People who have Bipolar Disorder can have periods in which they feel overly happy, elated and energised (known as manic episodes) and other periods of feeling very sad, hopeless or sluggish (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.
There are four basic types of Bipolar Disorder:
Bipolar I Disorder
Defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks.
Bipolar II Disorder
Defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic symptoms.
Cyclothymic Disorder (also called Cyclothymia)
Defined by numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms and numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years (1 year in children and adolescents). However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.
Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders
Defined by Bipolar Disorder symptoms that do not match the three categories listed above.