Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a biological psychiatric disorder that causes both physical and psychological symptoms. Bipolar disorders are categorized under the broader diagnostic category of mood disorders in the DSM-IV-TR.The physical symptoms include: impairments in sleep, energy, appetite, and concentration. The psychological symptoms include changes in thoughts, feelings, actions, and choices. There are two categories of Bipolar Disorders:

Bipolar I disorder has 6 separate criteria sets that include single manic episode, most recent episode hypomanic, most recent episode manic, most recent episode mixed, most recent episode depressed and most recent episode unspecified. To be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder you have to have had at least one manic episode (a period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least one week or requiring hospitalization).

Bipolar II Disorder is diagnosed when there is a presence or history of one or more major depressive episodes with hypomanic episodes. Major depression is present when five or more of the follow symptoms are present during a two-week period of time representing a change from typical functioning: depressed mood most of the day, nearly daily, markedly diminished interest in pleasure in previously enjoyed activities/interests, non-intentional weight loss, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, attention and concentration problems and indecisiveness, recurrent thoughts of death, suicide or planning for suicide and impairments in daily functioning.

It is difficult to accurately diagnose if the individual is in the midst of the eating disorder because symptoms of the eating disorder and starvation can mimic the indicators of a mood disorder. If a number of warning signs are present it is recommended that the individual be seen by a psychiatrist who is knowledgeable of eating disorders to determine if medication is appropriate. Additionally, when starting to take a psychotropic medication it's important to assess for any of the above indicated symptoms as a side effect of the medication. Report any unusual changes as soon as possible to the prescribing physician.


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