Get information

Get information on a prescription treatment for the acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes of Bipolar I Disorder.

About Bipolar Disorder

Do you feel happy and energetic on some days, but then sad and sluggish on other days? If so, and if your symptoms persist for extended periods of time, making it difficult for you to live your life as you usually would, then you may want to speak with your healthcare provider.

Bipolar disorder is a serious brain and behavioral disorder that’s characterized by severe changes in mood and energy. These changes affect a person’s ability to handle their day-to-day tasks. These changes in behavior, known as "mood episodes,"known as "mood episodes," are defined by the types of symptoms a person is experiencing: manic, depressive, or mixed. These periods of abnormal behavior are drastically different from a person's usual behavior.

People often live with bipolar disorder without having had it properly diagnosed. Please read this website, and explore the various resources it provides explore the various resources it provides. If you suspect you may have bipolar disorder, please speak with your healthcare provider.

Who Has Bipolar Disorder?

In the United States, about 5.7 million adults — about 2.6% of the population — have a condition called bipolar disorder. Of those, 1.5 million adults live with Bipolar I Disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness). The condition tends to start in late adolescence or early adulthood, but it can appear in children and older adults as well.

Read below to learn about the different types of bipolar disorder.

Did you know?

At the present time, bipolar disorder cannot be diagnosed through a physical exam or lab tests; it can only be diagnosed by a healthcare provider.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are four basic types of bipolar disorder, all of which involve clear changes in mood:

  • Bipolar I Disorder is when a person has a manic episode that lasts at least seven days, or has manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care.
  • Bipolar II Disorder is when a person has a pattern of depressive and hypomanichypomanic episodes, but not full manic episodes.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder is when a person has a pattern of depressive and hypomanichypomanic symptoms lasting at least two years and has had symptoms every two months or more.
  • Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders are characterized by bipolar disorder symptoms that do not match the three categories above.

Did you know?

At the present time, bipolar disorder cannot be diagnosed through a physical exam or lab tests; it can only be diagnosed by a healthcare provider.

Mood Episodes

There are three basic types of mood episodes, and a fourth type that is a combination of the basic types — and is the topic of this website.

  • Manic Episode
    When a person feels extremely "up," elated, energized, or irritable for a period of at least one week.
  • Hypomanic Episode
    Similar to a manic episode, with less severe symptoms that last four days in a row.
  • Depressive Episode
    When a person feels very sad or down, has very little energy, or feels like they can’t enjoy anything for a period of at least two weeks.
  • Mixed Episode
    When a person’s mood episode doesn’t fit clearly into one of the three basic types above, it may be because the person is experiencing manic (or hypomanic) symptoms along with depressive symptoms, at the same time. In such instances — for example, if the person is feeling impulsive, while also feeling very sad — then that person may be experiencing a mixed episode.
Learn More About Mixed Episodes

Bipolar Disorder — It’s Not the Same as Depression

Many people are curious about the difference between bipolar disorder and depression, since depression can either be a diagnosis on its own, or part of another disorder.

  • What characterizes bipolar disorder versus clinical depression is the presence of manic episodes. Depression alone does not lead to a bipolar diagnosis, but it can be part of it. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder requires at least one manic episode that meets the DSM-5 criteria meets the DSM-5 criteria in combination with depressive episodes.
  • DSM-5 criteria recently revised the terminology to "mixed features" and changed the way it is diagnosed, so you may hear both terms.
  • Essentially, the presence of manic episodes, often accompanied by feelings of euphoria and extreme highs, is what sets bipolar disorder apart from clinical depression.

It is important to remember that people who experience mania and depression at the same time are experiencing what is known as a "mixed episode."

Diagnosing Bipolar I Disorder

To be formally diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder, a person must have experienced at least one episode of mania lasting at least seven days. The person typically also experiences depressive episodes lasting at least two weeks. Remember, only a healthcare professional can correctly diagnose bipolar disorder and suggest a proper treatment plan. If you think you may have bipolar disorder, please speak with your healthcare provider.

  • Bipolar I Disorder is distinguished from Bipolar II Disorder and Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) in that it combines manic episodes with depression, whereas Bipolar II Disorder involves less severe hypomanic episodes with depression.
  • A healthcare provider will typically ask a person questions about their past to determine if they have once had a manic episode. Behavioral changes from a manic episode can be memorable: the person may remember acting extremely “up” and/or exhibiting uncharacteristically bold or risky behavior. To be diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder, a person need only have experienced a single manic episode in their lifetime.
  • On the other hand, hypomania is a milder form of mania that can be more difficult to remember clearly, and therefore diagnose.

If a healthcare provider suspects Bipolar I Disorder, he or she may first conduct a physical exam and blood tests to rule out other possible causes. He or she will then conduct a psychological interview using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which defines the four types of bipolar disorder the four types of bipolar disorder.

Diagnosing Bipolar I Disorder

To be formally diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder, a person must have experienced at least one episode of mania lasting at least seven days. The person typically also experiences depressive episodes lasting at least two weeks. Remember, only a healthcare professional can correctly diagnose bipolar disorder and suggest a proper treatment plan. If you think you may have bipolar disorder, please speak with your healthcare provider.

  • Bipolar I Disorder is distinguished from Bipolar II Disorder and Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) in that it combines manic episodes with depression, whereas Bipolar II Disorder involves less severe hypomanic episodes with depression.
  • A healthcare provider will typically ask a person questions about their past to determine if they have once had a manic episode. Behavioral changes from a manic episode can be memorable: the person may remember acting extremely “up” and/or exhibiting uncharacteristically bold or risky behavior. To be diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder, a person need only have experienced a single manic episode in their lifetime .
  • On the other hand, hypomania is a milder form of mania that can be more difficult to remember clearly, and therefore diagnose.

If a healthcare provider suspects Bipolar I Disorder, he or she may first conduct a physical exam and blood tests to rule out other possible causes. He or she will then conduct a psychological interview using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) , which defines the four types of bipolar disorder.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness with no known cure, but it may be successfully managed in various ways. A successful treatment plan usually includes a combination of medication, psychotherapy (“talk therapy”), and lifestyle management techniques.

Different types of medications are often used to help control the symptoms of bipolar disorder. It’s important to know that individuals may need to try several different medications before finding which medication, or medications, work for them. These can include:

  • Mood stabilizers
  • Atypical antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants

Remember — only a healthcare professional can determine if medication is needed to treat your bipolar disorder, and prescribe what’s appropriate for you.

When combined with the appropriate medication, psychotherapy can be a part of a successful treatment for bipolar disorder because it reinforces a sense of connection. It can include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    An examination of how your thoughts affect your emotions, focusing on managing symptoms, avoiding triggers for relapse, and problem-solving.
  • Family-focused therapy (FFT)
    Addresses the issues that come with living with a person who has bipolar disorder, coping with the disease's symptoms, working through problems, and improving communication.
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT)
    Helping people improve their moods by understanding and working with their biological and social rhythms, teaching skills that let them protect themselves against the development of future episodes.
  • Psychoeducation
    The process of providing education and information to those seeking or receiving mental health services.

A healthcare professional can help determine if any of these psychotherapy treatments may be appropriate for you.

Lifestyle choices can also help. Following a daily routine that allows for adequate sleep, consistent exercise, and a healthy diet can help reduce the stress and anxiety that can trigger or even worsen mood episodes.

Remember — following the treatment plan as recommended by your healthcare provider is a key component of a successful bipolar disorder treatment. For information on an FDA-approved prescription medicine for the acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes of Bipolar I Disorder, click here.

Lifestyle choices can also help. Following a daily routine that allows for adequate sleep, consistent exercise, and a healthy diet can help reduce the stress and anxiety that can trigger or even worsen mood episodes.

Remember — following the treatment plan as recommended by your healthcare provider is a key component of a successful bipolar disorder treatment. For information on an FDA-approved prescription medicine for the acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes of Bipolar I Disorder, click here.