What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that impacts an individual’s moods, energy, and daily living. Moods can range from extreme elevation (manic) to extremely low (depressive) episodes. These episodes can last for undetermined timeframes, based on the type of disorder and its severity. It can be treated by a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Common types of bipolar disorder with DSM-5 coding
- Bipolar I disorder – DSM-5 code: 296.41-296.46
- Bipolar II disorder – DSM-5 code: 296.89
- Cyclothymic disorder – DSM-5 code: 301.13
- Other specified, unspecified and related disorders – DSM-5 code: 296.80-296.89
Symptoms & common characteristics
There are several types of symptoms related to each specific diagnosis of bipolar disorder and are often categorized under mania or hypomania and depression. Although mania and hypomania have the same symptoms, they are distinguished by the severity of the symptoms. Hypomania is a milder form of mania and lasts for less time than a manic episode.
Manic and hypomania symptoms:
- Period of elevation, expansive, or irritable mood
- Abnormal and/or persistent increased activity, energy, agitation
- Increased self-esteem, grandiosity
- An exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
- Decreased need for sleep
- Talking more, a flight of ideas, racing thoughts
- Increase in goal-directed activity; involvement in activities that have painful consequences
- Poor decision-making — for example, going on buying sprees, taking sexual risks or making foolish investments
- Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty, hopeless or tearful (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as irritability)
- Marked loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in all — or almost all — activities
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight as expected can be a sign of depression)
- Either insomnia or sleeping too much
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide
Centre for Accessibility support for bipolar disorder may include
- Alternate format materials (texts into PDF/E-Text)
- Breaks from class as needed
- Note-taking services
- Preferential seating in the classroom
- Recording lectures
- One percent (1%) of Canadians aged 15 years and over reported symptoms that met the criteria for a bipolar disorder in the previous 12 months. About 1 in 50 adults aged 25-44 years or 45-64 years reported symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime. The proportion of men and women who met the lifetime criteria for bipolar disorder decreased slightly with age. (2002 Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey, Statistics Canada).
- Nearly 9 out of 10 Canadians who reported symptoms that met the 12-month criteria for bipolar disorder (86. 9%) reported that the condition interfered with their lives (2002 Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey, Statistics Canada).
- While most people with bipolar disorder (or depression) will not commit suicide, the risk of suicide among those with bipolar disorder is higher than in the general population.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.