A Brief Introduction to Bipolar Spectrum Disorder

Bipolar Spectrum Disorder pic

Bipolar Spectrum Disorder
Image: WebMD.com

Dr. Jorge Galindo has more than 20 years of experience as a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist in the Irvine, California, area. Over the course of his career in therapy, Dr. Jorge Galindo has supported individuals who experience a variety of mental health issues, including trauma and bipolar spectrum disorder.

Bipolar spectrum disorder is an umbrella term used to describe a series of related mental health disorders, most notably bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder. While all three disorders are characterized by symptoms of both depression and mania, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) clearly distinguishes each one from the others.

Bipolar I disorder involves frequent manic and depressive episodes that occur simultaneously. Individuals living with bipolar I may or may not experience psychotic episodes as the result of their persistent manic depressive state.

The manic depressive symptoms of bipolar II disorder, meanwhile, are less likely to effect a person’s day-to-day activities, not only because they are comparatively less severe than those of bipolar I, but also because instances of mania and depression interchange rather than overlap. Furthermore, individuals dealing with bipolar II do not face the risk of psychotic episodes.

Finally, cyclothymic disorder can be viewed as a lower level bipolar spectrum disorder. Individuals who suffer from cyclothymic disorder experience brief, intermittent periods of depression and hypomania, a lesser form of mania.