Bipolar and Related Disorders

Bipolar and related disorders are separated from the depressive disorders in DSM-5 and placed between the chapters on schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders and depressive disorders in recognition of their place as a bridge between the two diagnostic classes in terms of symptomatology, family history, and genetics. The diagnoses included in this chapter are bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder, substance/medication-induced bipolar and related disorder, bipolar and related disorder due to another medical condition, other specified bipolar and related disorder, and unspecified bipolar and related disorder.

The bipolar I disorder criteria represent the modern understanding of the classic manic-depressive disorder or affective psychosis described in the nineteenth century, differing from that classic description only to the extent that neither psychosis nor the lifetime experience of a major depressive episode is a requirement. However, the vast majority of individuals whose symptoms meet the criteria for a fully syndromal manic episode also experience major depressive episodes during the course of their lives.

Bipolar II disorder, requiring the lifetime experience of at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic episode, is no longer thought to be a “milder” condition than bipolar I disorder, largely because of the amount of time individuals with this condition spend in depression and because the instability of mood experienced by individuals with bipolar II disorder is typically accompanied by serious impairment in work and social functioning.

The diagnosis of cyclothymic disorder is given to adults who experience at least 2 years (for children, a full year) of both hypomanic and depressive periods without ever fulfilling the criteria for an episode of mania, hypomania, or major depression.

A large number of substances of abuse, some prescribed medications, and several medical conditions can be associated with manic-like phenomena. This fact is recognized in the diagnoses of substance/medication-induced bipolar and related disorder and bipolar and related disorder due to another medical condition.

The recognition that many individuals, particularly children and, to a lesser extent, adolescents, experience bipolar-like phenomena that do not meet the criteria for bipolar I, bipolar II, or cyclothymic disorder is reflected in the availability of the other specified bipolar and related disorder category. Indeed, specific criteria for a disorder involving short-duration hypomania are provided in Section III in the hope of encouraging further study of this disorder.

Bipolar I Disorder

Diagnostic Criteria

For a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, it is necessary to meet the following criteria for a manic episode. The manic episode may have been preceded by and may be followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes.

Manic Episode

A. A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy, lasting at least 1 week and present most of the day, nearly every day (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary).

B. During the period of mood disturbance and increased energy or activity, three (or more) of the following symptoms (four if the mood is only irritable) are present to a significant degree and represent a noticeable change from usual behavior:

1. Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity.

2. Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep).

3. More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking.

4. Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing.

5. Distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli), as reported or observed.

6. Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation (i.e., purposeless non-goal-directed activity).

7. Excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).

C. The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or to necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or there are psychotic features.

D. The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, other treatment) or another medical condition.

Note: A full manic episode that emerges during antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy) but persists at a fully syndromal level beyond the physiological effect of that treatment is sufficient evidence for a manic episode and, therefore, a bipolar I diagnosis.

Note: Criteria A–D constitute a manic episode. At least one lifetime manic episode is required for the diagnosis of bipolar I disorder.

Hypomanic Episode

A. A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy, lasting at least 4 consecutive days and present most of the day, nearly every day.

B. During the period of mood disturbance and increased energy and activity, three (or more) of the following symptoms (four if the mood is only irritable) have persisted, represent a noticeable change from usual behavior, and have been present to a significant degree:

1. Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity.

2. Decreased need for sleep (e.g., feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep).

3. More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking.

4. Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing.

5. Distractibility (i.e., attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli), as reported or observed.

6. Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation.

7. Excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).

C. The episode is associated with an unequivocal change in functioning that is uncharacteristic of the individual when not symptomatic.

D. The disturbance in mood and the change in functioning are observable by others.

E. The episode is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or to necessitate hospitalization. If there are psychotic features, the episode is, by definition, manic.

F. The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, other treatment) or another medical condition .

Note: A full hypomanic episode that emerges during antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy) but persists at a fully syndromal level beyond the physiological effect of that treatment is sufficient evidence for a hypomanic episode diagnosis. However, caution is indicated so that one or two symptoms (particularly increased irritability, edginess, or agitation following antidepressant use) are not taken as sufficient for diagnosis of a hypomanic episode, nor necessarily indicative of a bipolar diathesis.

Note: Criteria A–F constitute a hypomanic episode. Hypomanic episodes are common in bipolar I disorder but are not required for the diagnosis of bipolar I disorder.

Major Depressive Episode

A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

· Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly attributable to another medical condition.

1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, or hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)

2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation).

3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. (Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gain.)

4. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.

5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others; not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).

6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.

7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).

8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).

9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

B. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

C. The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition.

Note: Criteria A–C constitute a major depressive episode. Major depressive episodes are common in bipolar I disorder but are not required for the diagnosis of bipolar I disorder.

Note: Responses to a significant loss (e.g., bereavement, financial ruin, losses from a natural disaster, a serious medical illness or disability) may include the feelings of intense sadness, rumination about the loss, insomnia, poor appetite, and weight loss noted in Criterion A, which may resemble a depressive episode. Although such symptoms may be understandable or considered appropriate to the loss, the presence of a major depressive episode in addition to the normal response to a significant loss should also be carefully considered. This decision inevitably requires the exercise of clinical judgment based on the individual’s history and the cultural norms for the expression of distress in the context of loss.

In distinguishing grief from a major depressive episode (MDE), it is useful to consider that in grief the predominant affect is feelings of emptiness and loss, while in an MDE it is persistent depressed mood and the inability to anticipate happiness or pleasure. The dysphoria in grief is likely to decrease in intensity over days to weeks and occurs in waves, the so-called pangs of grief. These waves tend to be associated with thoughts or reminders of the deceased. The depressed mood of an MDE is more persistent and not tied to specific thoughts or preoccupations. The pain of grief may be accompanied by positive emotions and humor that are uncharacteristic of the pervasive unhappiness and misery characteristic of an MDE . The thought content associated with grief generally features a preoccupation with thoughts and memories of the deceased, rather than the self-critical or pessimistic ruminations seen in an MDE. In grief, self-esteem is generally preserved, whereas in an MDE, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common. If self-derogatory ideation is present in grief, it typically involves perceived failings vis-à-vis the deceased (e.g., not visiting frequently enough, not telling the deceased how much he or she was loved). If a bereaved individual thinks about death and dying, such thoughts are generally focused on the deceased and possibly about “joining” the deceased, whereas in an MDE such thoughts are focused on ending one’s own life because of feeling worthless, undeserving of life, or unable to cope with the pain of depression.

Bipolar I Disorder

A. Criteria have been met for at least one manic episode (Criteria A–D under “Manic Episode” above).

B. The occurrence of the manic and major depressive episode(s) is not better explained by schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or other specified or unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder.

Coding and Recording Procedures

· The diagnostic code for bipolar I disorder is based on type of current or most recent episode and its status with respect to current severity, presence of psychotic features, and remission status. Current severity and psychotic features are only indicated if full criteria are currently met for a manic or major depressive episode. Remission specifiers are only indicated if the full criteria are not currently met for a manic, hypomanic, or major depressive episode. Codes are as follows:

Enlarge table

· In recording the name of a diagnosis, terms should be listed in the following order: bipolar I disorder, type of current or most recent episode, severity/psychotic/remission specifiers, followed by as many specifiers without codes as apply to the current or most recent episode.

Specify:

· With anxious distress (p. 149)

· With mixed features (pp. 149–150)

· With rapid cycling (pp. 150–151)

· With melancholic features (p. 151)

· With atypical features (pp. 151–152)

· With mood-congruent psychotic features (p. 152 ;

applies to manic episode and/or major depressive episode)

· With mood-incongruent psychotic features (p. 152 ;

applies to manic episode and/or major depressive episode)

· With catatonia (p. 152). Coding note: Use additional code 293.89 (F06.1).

· With peripartum onset (pp. 152–153)

· With seasonal pattern (pp. 153–154)

Diagnostic Features

The essential feature of a manic episode is a distinct period during which there is an abnormally, persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and persistently increased activity or energy that is present for most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of at least 1 week (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary), accompanied by at least three additional symptoms from Criterion B. If the mood is irritable rather than elevated or expansive, at least four Criterion B symptoms must be present.

Mood in a manic episode is often described as euphoric, excessively cheerful, high, or “feeling on top of the world.” In some cases, the mood is of such a highly infectious quality that it is easily recognized as excessive and may be characterized by unlimited and haphazard enthusiasm for interpersonal, sexual, or occupational interactions. For example, the individual may spontaneously start extensive conversations with strangers in public. Often the predominant mood is irritable rather than elevated, particularly when the individual’s wishes are denied or if the individual has been using substances. Rapid shifts in mood over brief periods of time may occur and are referred to as lability (i.e., the alternation among euphoria, dysphoria, and irritability). In children, happiness, silliness and “goofiness” are normal in the context of special occasions; however, if these symptoms are recurrent, inappropriate to the context, and beyond what is expected for the developmental level of the child, they may meet Criterion A. If the happiness is unusual for a child (i.e., distinct from baseline), and the mood change occurs at the same time as symptoms that meet Criterion B for mania, diagnostic certainty is increased; however, the mood change must be accompanied by persistently increased activity or energy levels that are obvious to those who know the child well.

During the manic episode, the individual may engage in multiple overlapping new projects. The projects are often initiated with little knowledge of the topic, and nothing seems out of the individual’s reach. The increased activity levels may manifest at unusual hours of the day.

Inflated self-esteem is typically present, ranging from uncritical self-confidence to marked grandiosity, and may reach delusional proportions (Criterion B1). Despite lack of any particular experience or talent, the individual may embark on complex tasks such as writing a novel or seeking publicity for some impractical invention. Grandiose delusions (e.g., of having a special relationship to a famous person) are common. In children, overestimation of abilities and belief that, for example, they are the best at a sport or the smartest in the class is normal; however, when such beliefs are present despite clear evidence to the contrary or the child attempts feats that are clearly dangerous and, most important, represent a change from the child’s normal behavior, the grandiosity criterion should be considered satisfied.

One of the most common features is a decreased need for sleep (Criterion B2) and is distinct from insomnia in which the individual wants to sleep or feels the need to sleep but is unable. The individual may sleep little, if at all, or may awaken several hours earlier than usual, feeling rested and full of energy. When the sleep disturbance is severe, the individual may go for days without sleep, yet not feel tired. Often a decreased need for sleep heralds the onset of a manic episode.

Speech can be rapid, pressured, loud, and difficult to interrupt (Criterion B3). Individuals may talk continuously and without regard for others’ wishes to communicate, often in an intrusive manner or without concern for the relevance of what is said. Speech is sometimes characterized by jokes, puns, amusing irrelevancies, and theatricality, with dramatic mannerisms, singing, and excessive gesturing. Loudness and forcefulness of speech often become more important than what is conveyed. If the individual’s mood is more irritable than expansive, speech may be marked by complaints, hostile comments, or angry tirades, particularly if attempts are made to interrupt the individual. Both Criterion A and Criterion B symptoms may be accompanied by symptoms of the opposite (i.e., depressive) pole (see “with mixed features” specifier, pp. 149–150).

Often the individual’s thoughts race at a rate faster than they can be expressed through speech (Criterion B4). Frequently there is flight of ideas evidenced by a nearly continuous flow of accelerated speech, with abrupt shifts from one topic to another. When flight of ideas is severe, speech may become disorganized, incoherent, and particularly distressful to the individual. Sometimes thoughts are experienced as so crowded that it is very difficult to speak.

Distractibility (Criterion B5) is evidenced by an inability to censor immaterial external stimuli (e.g., the interviewer’s attire, background noises or conversations, furnishings in the room) and often prevents individuals experiencing mania from holding a rational conversation or attending to instructions.

The increase in goal-directed activity often consists of excessive planning and participation in multiple activities, including sexual, occupational, political, or religious activities. Increased sexual drive, fantasies, and behavior are often present. Individuals in a manic episode usually show increased sociability (e.g., renewing old acquaintances or calling or contacting friends or even strangers), without regard to the intrusive, domineering, and demanding nature of these interactions. They often display psychomotor agitation or restlessness (i.e., purposeless activity) by pacing or by holding multiple conversations simultaneously. Some individuals write excessive letters, e-mails, text messages, and so forth, on many different topics to friends, public figures, or the media.

The increased activity criterion can be difficult to ascertain in children; however, when the child takes on many tasks simultaneously, starts devising elaborate and unrealistic plans for projects, develops previously absent and developmentally inappropriate sexual preoccupations (not accounted for by sexual abuse or exposure to sexually explicit material), then Criterion B might be met based on clinical judgment. It is essential to determine whether the behavior represents a change from the child’s baseline behavior; occurs most of the day, nearly every day for the requisite time period; and occurs in temporal association with other symptoms of mania.

The expansive mood, excessive optimism, grandiosity, and poor judgment often lead to reckless involvement in activities such as spending sprees, giving away possessions, reckless driving, foolish business investments, and sexual promiscuity that is unusual for the individual, even though these activities are likely to have catastrophic consequences (Criterion B7). The individual may purchase many unneeded items without the money to pay for them and, in some cases, give them away. Sexual behavior may include infidelity or indiscriminate sexual encounters with strangers, often disregarding the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or interpersonal consequences.

The manic episode must result in marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or require hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others (e.g., financial losses, illegal activities, loss of employment, self-injurious behavior). By definition, the presence of psychotic features during a manic episode also satisfies Criterion C.

Manic symptoms or syndromes that are attributable to the physiological effects of a drug of abuse (e.g., in the context of cocaine or amphetamine intoxication), the side effects of medications or treatments (e.g., steroids, l-dopa, antidepressants, stimulants), or another medical condition do not count toward the diagnosis of bipolar I disorder. However, a fully syndromal manic episode that arises during treatment (e.g., with medications, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) or drug use and persists beyond the physiological effect of the inducing agent (i.e., after a medication is fully out of the individual’s system or the effects of electroconvulsive therapy would be expected to have dissipated completely) is sufficient evidence for a manic episode diagnosis (Criterion D). Caution is indicated so that one or two symptoms (particularly increased irritability, edginess, or agitation following antidepressant use) are not taken as sufficient for diagnosis of a manic or hypomanic episode, nor necessarily an indication of a bipolar disorder diathesis. It is necessary to meet criteria for a manic episode to make a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, but it is not required to have hypomanic or major depressive episodes. However, they may precede or follow a manic episode. Full descriptions of the diagnostic features of a hypomanic episode may be found within the text for bipolar II disorder, and the features of a major depressive episode are described within the text for major depressive disorder.

Associated Features Supporting Diagnosis

During a manic episode, individuals often do not perceive that they are ill or in need of treatment and vehemently resist efforts to be treated. Individuals may change their dress, makeup, or personal appearance to a more sexually suggestive or flamboyant style. Some perceive a sharper sense of smell, hearing, or vision. Gambling and antisocial behaviors may accompany the manic episode. Some individuals may become hostile and physically threatening to others and, when delusional, may become physically assaultive or suicidal. Catastrophic consequences of a manic episode (e.g., involuntary hospitalization, difficulties with the law, serious financial difficulties) often result from poor judgment, loss of insight, and hyperactivity.

Mood may shift very rapidly to anger or depression. Depressive symptoms may occur during a manic episode and, if present, may last moments, hours, or, more rarely, days (see “with mixed features” specifier, pp. 149–150).

Prevalence

The 12-month prevalence estimate in the continental United States was 0.6% for bipolar I disorder as defined in DSM-IV(Merikangas et al. 2007). Twelve-month prevalence of bipolar I disorder across 11 countries ranged from 0.0% to 0.6%(Merikangas et al. 2007). The lifetime male-to-female prevalence ratio is approximately 1.1:1(Merikangas et al. 2007).

Development and Course

Mean age at onset of the first manic, hypomanic, or major depressive episode is approximately 18 years for bipolar I disorder. Special considerations are necessary to detect the diagnosis in children. Since children of the same chronological age may be at different developmental stages, it is difficult to define with precision what is “normal” or “expected” at any given point. Therefore, each child should be judged according to his or her own baseline. Onset occurs throughout the life cycle, including first onsets in the 60s or 70s. Onset of manic symptoms (e.g., sexual or social disinhibition) in late mid-life or late-life should prompt consideration of medical conditions (e.g., frontotemporal neurocognitive disorder) and of substance ingestion or withdrawal.

More than 90% of individuals who have a single manic episode go on to have recurrent mood episodes. Approximately 60% of manic episodes occur immediately before a major depressive episode. Individuals with bipolar I disorder who have multiple (four or more) mood episodes (major depressive, manic, or hypomanic) within 1 year receive the specifier “with rapid cycling.”

Risk and Prognostic Factors

Environmental

Bipolar disorder is more common in high-income than in low-income countries (1.4 % vs. 0.7%)(Ormel et al. 2008). Separated, divorced, or widowed individuals have higher rates of bipolar I disorder than do individuals who are married or have never been married, but the direction of the association is unclear.

Genetic and physiological

A family history of bipolar disorder is one of the strongest and most consistent risk factors for bipolar disorders. There is an average 10-fold increased risk among adult relatives of individuals with bipolar I and bipolar II disorders. Magnitude of risk increases with degree of kinship. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder likely share a genetic origin( Lichtenstein et al. 2009 ), reflected in familial co-aggregation of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder( Van Snellenberg and deCandia 2009 ).

Course modifiers

After an individual has a manic episode with psychotic features, subsequent manic episodes are more likely to include psychotic features. Incomplete inter-episode recovery is more common when the current episode is accompanied by mood-incongruent psychotic features.

Culture-Related Diagnostic Issues

Little information exists on specific cultural differences in the expression of bipolar I disorder. One possible explanation for this may be that diagnostic instruments are often translated and applied in different cultures with no transcultural validation(Sanches and Jorge 2004). In one U.S. study, 12-month prevalence of bipolar I disorder was significantly lower for Afro-Caribbeans than for African Americans or whites(Williams et al. 2007).

Gender-Related Diagnostic Issues

Females are more likely to experience rapid cycling and mixed states, and to have patterns of comorbidity that differ from those of males, including higher rates of lifetime eating disorders( McElroy et al. 2011 ). Females with bipolar I or II disorder are more likely to experience depressive symptoms than males(Altshuler et al. 2010Suppes et al. 2005). They also have a higher lifetime risk of alcohol use disorder than do males and a much greater likelihood of alcohol use disorder than do females in the general population(Frye et al. 2003).

Suicide Risk

The lifetime risk of suicide in individuals with bipolar disorder is estimated to be at least 15 times that of the general population. In fact, bipolar disorder may account for one-quarter of all completed suicides. A past history of suicide attempt and percent days spent depressed in the past year are associated with greater risk of suicide attempts or completions(Marangell et al. 2006).

Functional Consequences of Bipolar I Disorder

Although many individuals with bipolar disorder return to a fully functional level between episodes, approximately 30% show severe impairment in work role function(Judd et al. 2008). Functional recovery lags substantially behind recovery from symptoms, especially with respect to occupational recovery, resulting in lower socioeconomic status despite equivalent levels of education when compared with the general population(Schoeyen et al. 2011). Individuals with bipolar I disorder perform more poorly than healthy individuals on cognitive tests. Cognitive impairments may contribute to vocational and interpersonal difficulties( Dickerson et al. 2004 ) and persist through the lifespan, even during euthymic periods(Gildengers et al. 2010).

Differential Diagnosis

Major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder may also be accompanied by hypomanic or manic symptoms (i.e., fewer symptoms or for a shorter duration than required for mania or hypomania). When the individual presents in an episode of major depression, one must depend on corroborating history regarding past episodes of mania or hypomania. Symptoms of irritability may be associated with either major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, adding to diagnostic complexity.

Other bipolar disorders

Diagnosis of bipolar I disorder is differentiated from bipolar II disorder by determining whether there have been any past episodes of mania. Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders should be differentiated from bipolar I and II disorders by considering whether either the episodes involving manic or hypomanic symptoms or the episodes of depressive symptoms fail to meet the full criteria for those conditions.

Bipolar disorder due to another medical condition may be distinguished from bipolar I and II disorders by identifying, based on best clinical evidence, a causally related medical condition.

Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, or other anxiety disorders

These disorders need to be considered in the differential diagnosis as either the primary disorder or, in some cases, a comorbid disorder. A careful history of symptoms is needed to differentiate generalized anxiety disorder from bipolar disorder, as anxious ruminations may be mistaken for racing thoughts, and efforts to minimize anxious feelings may be taken as impulsive behavior. Similarly, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder need to be differentiated from bipolar disorder. It is helpful to assess the episodic nature of the symptoms described, as well as to consider symptom triggers, in making this differential diagnosis.

Substance/medication-induced bipolar disorder

Substance use disorders may manifest with substance/medication -induced manic symptoms that must be distinguished from bipolar I disorder; response to mood stabilizers during a substance/medication-induced mania may not necessarily be diagnostic for bipolar disorder. There may be substantial overlap in view of the tendency for individuals with bipolar I disorder to overuse substances during an episode. A primary diagnosis of bipolar disorder must be established based on symptoms that remain once substances are no longer being used.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

This disorder may be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder, especially in adolescents and children. Many symptoms overlap with the symptoms of mania, such as rapid speech, racing thoughts, distractibility, and less need for sleep. The “double counting” of symptoms toward both ADHD and bipolar disorder can be avoided if the clinician clarifies whether the symptom(s) represents a distinct episode.

Personality disorders

Personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder may have substantial symptomatic overlap with bipolar disorders, since mood lability and impulsivity are common in both conditions. Symptoms must represent a distinct episode, and the noticeable increase over baseline required for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder must be present. A diagnosis of a personality disorder should not be made during an untreated mood episode.

Disorders with prominent irritability

In individuals with severe irritability, particularly children and adolescents, care must be taken to apply the diagnosis of bipolar disorder only to those who have had a clear episode of mania or hypomania—that is, a distinct time period, of the required duration, during which the irritability was clearly different from the individual’s baseline and was accompanied by the onset of Criterion B symptoms. When a child’s irritability is persistent and particularly severe, the diagnosis of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder would be more appropriate. Indeed, when any child is being assessed for mania, it is essential that the symptoms represent a clear change from the child’s typical behavior.

Comorbidity

Co-occurring mental disorders are common, with the most frequent disorders being any anxiety disorder (e.g., panic attacks, social anxiety disorder [social phobia], specific phobia), occurring in approximately three-fourths of individuals; ADHD, any disruptive, impulse-control, or conduct disorder (e.g., intermittent explosive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder), and any substance use disorder (e.g., alcohol use disorder) occur in over half of individuals with bipolar I disorder(Merikangas et al. 2011). Adults with bipolar I disorder have high rates of serious and/or untreated co-occurring medical conditions( Kilbourne et al. 2004 Magalhães et al. 2012 Perron et al. 2009 ). Metabolic syndrome and migraine are more common among individuals with bipolar disorder than in the general population(Jette et al. 2008 Ortiz et al. 2010 Sicras et al. 2008). More than half of individuals whose symptoms meet criteria for bipolar disorder have an alcohol use disorder, and those with both disorders are at greater risk for suicide attempt( Oquendo et al. 2010 ).

Reference

 

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Bipolar and related disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author. doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm03