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CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF BIPOLAR DISORDER

Bipolar disorder is characterized by unpredictable swings in mood from mania (or hypomania) to depression. Some patients suffer only from recurrent attacks of mania, which in its pure form is associated with increased psychomotor activity; excessive social extroversion; decreased need for sleep; impulsivity and impaired judgment; and expansive, grandiose, and sometimes irritable mood (Table 444-8). In severe mania, patients may experience delusions and paranoid thinking indistinguishable from schizophrenia. One-half of patients with bipolar disorder present with a mixture of psychomotor agitation and activation with dysphoria, anxiety, and irritability. It may be difficult to distinguish mixed mania from agitated depression. In some bipolar patients (bipolar II disorder), the full criteria for mania are lacking, and the requisite recurrent depressions are separated by periods of mild activation and increased energy (hypomania). In cyclothymic disorder, there are numerous hypomanic periods, usually of relatively short duration, alternating with clusters of depressive symptoms that fail, either in severity or duration, to meet the criteria of major depression. The mood fluctuations are chronic and should be present for at least 2 years before the diagnosis is made.

TABLE 444-8Criteria for a Manic Episode

Manic episodes typically emerge over a period of days to weeks, but onset within hours is possible, usually in ...

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