Okay, we've talked about this in several threads, so I thought I'd just open up a topic and start the ball-a-rollin'. Please understand that if you choose to read on, you are reading a post from someone who LOVES to research and look things up. You may be asleep by the 2nd paragraph! LOL
The DSM-IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition), which is the be-all-and-end-all for Pdocs, Psychologists, social workers, licensed counselors and other mental health practitioners, has only TWO (yes, 2) forms of Bipolar in it. However, the DMS-IV was written in 1994. It's a little OLD....phew! I mean... dusty old. I can't think of any other group of disorders that is still being diagnosed with FIFTEEN YEAR OLD standards other than mental health. (oh, sorry... almost got on a soapbox)
Simply put, Bipolar I (one) is depression plus mania. Bipolar II (two) is depression plus hypomania. There are very strict criteria for each of those diagnoses. You can look at those criteria at:
Bipolar I: http://www.mentalhealth.com/di...
Bipolar II: http://www.mentalhealth.com/di...
The DSM-V (five) will not be out for at least another three to five years. The "Bipolar Spectrum" is supposed to be in the DSM-V... at least, that's what I hear from my friends who practice in the field.
Dr. Hagpop Akiskal, out of the University of California, San Diego, is one of the leading experts and one who is WAY ahead of the pack with these so-called "soft" bipolar diagnoses. Here are his identified subtypes of bipolar disorders known as the bipolar spectrum.
Akiskal's Schema of Bipolar Subtypes
(Psychiatric Clinics of North America 22:3, September 1999; Medscape Family Medicine, 2005;7)
Bipolar I: full-blown mania
Bipolar I ½: depression with protracted hypomania
Bipolar II: depression with hypomanic episodes
Bipolar II ½: cyclothymic disorder
Bipolar III: hypomania due to antidepressant drugs
Bipolar III ½: hypomania and/or depression associated with substance use
Bipolar IV: depression associated with hyperthymic temperament
Bipolar V: recurrent depressions that are admixed with dysphoric hypomania
Bipolar VI: late onset depression with mixed mood features, progressing to a dementia-like syndrome
You can read about these categories at: http://www.psycom.net/depressi...
Another good page to read is: http://www.psycheducation.org/...
As for the bipolar spectrum... I'm a believer. I have read enough and experienced enough to know that I have a "soft" bipolar. But, I can tell you that at times, if feels anything BUT soft. Sometimes it slams me up side the head like a cast iron skillet. Depending on who's spectrum chart you look at (there's more than Akiskal's), I have bipolar that is aggravated with antidepressants and I have depression that is associated with a hyperthymic temperament. (Bipolar III, and IV) I'm double trouble... LOL.
I hate that there are so many people out there who are running around without a proper diagnosis because the DSM-IV is so dag-gum old. Primary care docs are so overwhelmed that they can't keep up with every specialty area to know that there's even such a thing as a "spectrum." I would have NEVER been diagnosed if it weren't for my completely untreatable sleep disorder. That is what landed me in at my pdoc's doorstep. Thank God. My life has changed SO much for the better now that I have mood stabilizers on board.
Okay.... I'll hush now. I think I've put plenty of fodder for discussion out on the table.... that is, if any one is interested. If not.... I had a good time writing it anyway... LOL.