1. 1 Introduction to Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness) Print

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depressive illness) is a severe mental disorder, primarily characterised by extreme mood swings and episodes of depression and hypomania/mania. It has a highly recurrent course and a strong hereditary basis (Goodwin and Jamison, 2007). Despite effective pharmacological (Goodwin 2002; Keck and McElroy 2002) and more recently psychosocial treatments (Lam, Watkins et al. 2003; Miklowitz, George et al. 2003; Frank, Kupfer et al. 2005), once expressed the illness is characterised by a chronic course that will involve numerous bipolar episodes and equally persistent disabling sub-syndromal symptomatology (Judd et al., 2005). Depending on the diagnostic threshold used, severe presentations of it make it a relatively rare condition with approximately 1% prevalence rate. Nevertheless, milder forms of the disorder have been estimated to be highly prevalent (6.4%, Judd and Akiskal, 2003).

 

key references

Goodwin, F. & Jamison, K. 2007. Manic-depressive illness: bipolar disorders and recurrent depression, Oxford University Press, USA.

Lam, D. H., Watkins, E. R., Hayward, P., Bright, J., Wright, K., Kerr, N., Parr-Davis, G. & Sham, P. 2003. A randomized controlled study of cognitive therapy for relapse prevention for bipolar affective disorder: outcome of the first year. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 60, 145-52.

Frank, E. 2005. Treating bipolar disorder: A clinician's guide to interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, New York, NY, Guilford Press.

Judd, L. L., Akiskal, H. S., Schettler, P. J., Endicott, J., Leon, A. C., Solomon, D. A., Coryell, W., Maser, J. D. & Keller, M. B. 2005. Psychosocial disability in the course of bipolar I and II disorders: a prospective, comparative, longitudinal study. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 62, 1322-30.

Judd, L. L. & Akiskal, H. S. 2003. The prevalence and disability of bipolar spectrum disorders in the US population: re-analysis of the ECA database taking into account subthreshold cases. J Affect Disord, 73, 123-31.