What Is Bipolar Disorder?

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Terence A. Ketter, MD
Bipolar Disorders Clinic, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California

Diagnostic Features of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder shares symptoms of depression with unipolar depressive disorder, but is defined by episodes of mania or hypomania. Depression can include affective symptoms such as a pervasive sadness (depressed mood), a lack of pleasure or interest in activities (anhedonia/apathy), and irritability (in pediatric patients); cognitive symptoms such as decreased self-esteem and concentration, indecisiveness, feelings of guilt, and suicidal thoughts; and physical symptoms such as psychomotor retardation or agitation and either an increase or decrease in sleep, appetite, or energy. Continue reading “What Is Bipolar Disorder?”

Practical Applications of New Research in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a leading cause of disability worldwide,1 and the lifetime prevalence of this condition is about 1% in community populations.2 This activity presents highlights from 4 presentations given at the 2011 International Conference on Bipolar Disorder (ICBD), a conference dedicated to sharing research results and clinical experience to help clinicians improve the lives of those with bipolar disorder.

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Bipolar disorder severity worsened by poor sleep quality

Sleep quality may play a role in the course of bipolar disorder, with shorter total sleep time (TST) and increased sleep variability (SV) both associated with symptom severity, conclude a team of US researchers.

Previous studies have indicated that bipolar disorder patients have a reduced need for sleep during manic episodes, and either insomnia or hypersomnia during depressive episodes. Furthermore, 70% of euthymic patients have clinically significant levels of sleep disturbance.

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Comorbidity in Bipolar Disorder

Comorbidity in Bipolar Disorder

The Complexity of Diagnosis and Treatment

The central tenet of clinical comorbidity, the occurrence of 2 syndromes in the same patient, presupposes that they are distinct categorical entities. By this definition, 2 or more coexisting syndromes do not negate one another, nor paradoxically does this coexistence negate the potential for one to influence the course, outcome, and treatment response of the other. Isolating a syndrome by characterizing it through a unique pathogenic process allows for diagnostic fidelity even while acknowledging overlapping phenotypes.

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Differentiating bipolar disorder from borderline personality disorder

Differentiating bipolar disorder from borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a condition in which people can very easily become angry and upset in response to stresses — especially stresses involving relationships. Borderline personality disorder also can involve periods of feeling suicidal, not so much out of clinical depression but as an expression of distress. Moodswings, and trouble managing extreme mood states, are hallmark features of borderline personality disorder, although sudden or abrupt moodswings are not part of the definition of bipolar disorder.

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Role of Vitamins in Mood Disorders


Role of Vitamins in Mood Disorders

June 14 2010 – Mood disorders are also called affective disorders. Mood disorders have a major economic impact through associated health care costs as well as lost work productivity. A mood is an emotion or feeling that lasts a long time. Moods affect how we act. Your mood also affects how you feel about yourself and life in general. Mood disorder problems may be caused by changes in your life. Chemical changes in your body can also cause a mood disorder. Moods range from feeling sad to feeling happy. Women who have a mood disorder are more likely to get depressed than men. Signs and symptoms of mood disorder start very slowly. Other people may see changes before you see or feel them. However, sometimes depression can occur due to another disorder or as a drug side effect, and in these cases it is known as secondary depression. The effects of exercise in improving the symptoms of depression are well-documented. Inadequate intake of zinc, vitamin B6, iodine, vitamin B12 and folic acid during early life may impair nervous system development and permanently alter function and behavior.

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In Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorder, Life Is Not Black And White

In Schizophrenia And Bipolar Disorder, Life Is Not Black And White

  Feb, 05, 2010  

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder affect tens of millions of individuals around the world. These disorders have a typical onset in the early twenties and in most cases have a chronic or recurring course. Neither disorder has an objective biological marker than can be used to make diagnoses or to guide treatment.

Findings in Biological Psychiatry, published by Elsevier suggest that electroretinography (ERG), a specialized measure of retinal function might be a useful biomarker of risk for these disorders, and retinal deficits may contribute to the perceptual problems associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
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I’m Not Bipolar. I HAVE Bipolar

I was asked by Diana Keough of ShareWIK.com to write about the topic of living with bipolar without letting my mood disorder define me. You can get to her blog post by clicking here.

“A label is a mask life wears,” writes Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., one of the first pioneers in the mind, body, health field. “Labeling sets up an expectation of life that is often so compelling we can no longer see things as they really are … In my experience, a diagnosis is an opinion and not a prediction. What would it be like if more people allowed for the presence of the unknown, and accepted the words of their medical experts in the same way? The diagnosis is cancer. What that will mean remains to be seen.”

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