Bipolar Disorder is slightly more common among men than in women and one year prevalence of type I and II is found from 0.0% to approximately 1% across different countries (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Fajutrao, Locklear, Priaulx & Heyes, 2009).
Bipolar disorder type I is characterized by the occurrence of manic, hypomanic and depression episodes. Bipolar II disorder is characterized by the absence of manic episodes but patients experience hypomanic and depression episodes. Patients may also experience mixed episodes, characterized by manic and depression symptomatology. Between episodes, there may be periods of normal emotional functioning (DSM-5).
Manic and hypomanic episodes are periods of time during which the individual experiences an extraordinary abnormal elevated energy – not necessarily “joy” – along with symptoms such as pervasive distractibility, extremely racing thoughts, abnormal reduced need of sleep or incapability to sleep. Patients may also experience psychotic symptoms. Symptoms pertaining at least four consecutive days, for most of the day, are considered as of an hypomanic episode, while symptoms persisting at least one week are considered as of a manic episode (DSM-5). The assessment of symptoms and diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder require mental health clinical expertise. Treatment involves pharmacotherapy, psychological interventions and psychosocial support programs.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.) Washington, DC; London, England: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Fajutrao, L., Locklear, J., Priaulx, J. & Heyes, A. (2009). A systematic review of the evidence of the burden of bipolar disorder in Europe. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 5(3). doi:10.1186/1745-0179-5-3