Bipolar Syndrome

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Manic depression is a complex issue that has some individuals wondering whether bipolar syndrome occurs within a spectrum of disorders instead of a single diagnosis. This revolutionary concept makes sense to many considering the breadth of the condition. Many people have very different experiences with the mood disorder and there are various levels of severity.

Spectrum Disorders

Spectrum disorders typically have root symptoms in common. However, they each differ to some degree. For example, an individual who is diagnosed with manic depression may experience minor depressive states combined with extreme elevated states. Another individual may have deep depression followed by a brief period of energy and irritability.

When disorders fall within a spectrum, they share common elements. In bipolar syndrome, these common elements are cycles of depression and mania. Each respective diagnosis within the spectrum has its unique qualities, making it distinct from the wider classification.

Bipolar Syndrome Types

If we consider bipolar disorder as a syndrome, we begin to look at various types within a spectrum rather than a single diagnosis. Each type requires individual attention and specialized interventions if the spectrum theory is plausible. Following are different types of bipolar disorder that have unique characteristics.

Rapid Cycling

Some individuals who are diagnosed manic-depressive have rapidly changing moods. This is not the case for everyone who has this condition. The changes occur at least four times each year. This type of bipolar disorder requires attention to balance the extremes within a relatively short period.


Extreme bipolar tendencies may lead to psychotic episodes that are very problematic. Individuals develop irrational thinking patterns paired with erratic behaviours. Treating psychosis in bipolar disorder requires more than medication and mood stabilization. Therapies including cognitive-behavioural approaches are required as well.

Cyclothymia and Hypomania

Cyclothymia and hypomania are problematic but they are not as severe as psychotic bipolar disorder or manic depression in general. The individual has some of the symptoms of bipolar syndrome but they are not extreme enough to warrant a diagnosis.

Mixed States

Some individuals experience the mania and depression at once. This is a very different type of bipolar syndrome because there seem to be few cycles, if any. The mixed states are every bit as problematic as typical bipolar disorder and they do warrant diagnoses.

Treating bipolar syndrome as a spectrum of disorders may be helpful in the proper diagnosis and treatment of this complex condition. Each individual requires specialised attention and treatment to deal with this mood disorder.

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