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Bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BP-NOS), and cyclothymic disorder or cyclothymia. Bipolar I disorder, which is defined by manic or mixed episodes that may last up to seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well typically lasting at least two weeks. ("NIMH • Bipolar Disorder", n.d., p. 4) Bipolar II disorder is a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes. ("NIMH • Bipolar Disorder", n.d., p. 4) Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BP-NOS) is diagnosed when symptoms of the illness exist but do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or bipolar II.
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Bipolar Disorder is a serious and complicated mood disorder characterized by abnormal fluctuations between an individual’s high and low moods. Mania, Depression, Hypomania and Mixed Episodes are the predominant moods that can be identified in the different forms of Bipolar Disorder (GlaxoSmithKlein, 2007). The etiology, symptomology, and treatment for each mood and form of Bipolar Disorder vary as well. Moods can be identified by a person’s level of happiness, sadness, outlook on life and how he may physically feel (Mondimore, 2006). Patients struggling with Bipolar Disorder have difficulty regulating the euphoric highs of mania, the “black hole” feelings of depression, the “softer side” of hypomania and the incessant cycling of Mixed Episodes.