Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How Long Do Depressive Episodes Last Bipolar

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What Is The Difference Between Major And Minor Depression

Dysthymic disorder/dysthymia – Also known as a moderate form of depression, the symptoms last a long time – at least two years – but are not as severe as the symptoms of major depression. Minor depression – This form of depression is similar to the others except the symptoms are not as severe and don’t last as long.

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Mental Health Helplines And Resources

If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, contact the hotlines below to seek for help and emotional support. 


KL: 03-7956 8145

Ipoh: 05-547 7933

Penang: 04-281 5161



Befrienders is a not-for-profit organisation providing emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to people who are lonely, in distress, in despair, and having suicidal thoughts – without charge.

SOLS Health



SOLS Health is a behavioural health centre that connects clients to accessible individual, family and community mental health and nutritional services with an emphasis on combating the stigma of mental health in Malaysia.

Clients with a monthly household income below a certain threshold will qualify for subsidized rates. 

Life Line Association Malaysia



Women’s Aid Organization

Contact Number: 

WAO Hotline: +603 7956 3488 

WAO SMS/WhatsApp line, TINA : +6018 988 8058

General Enquiries: 03 7957 5636 / 0636 



WAO provides free and confidential services to survivors of domestic violence, rape, and other forms of violence. 

Malaysian Mental Health Association

Contact Number:

The Stress Of A Bad Breakup Or Failed Marriage

A number of people with bipolar disorder — especially those with a history of severe manic episodes — have failed marriages. If you’re going through a divorce, working with your therapist through what is often a drawn-out and extremely stressful process can help.

You might consider a durable power of attorney that allows someone else to make major decisions for you, such as financial ones, when you are going through an episode of depression or mania in relation to or during a breakup.

In fact, assigning a durable power of attorney could be useful for anyone who might be experiencing an episode of bipolar disorder.

It Took Over A Month For Me To Return To My Stable Self

This is a month AFTER the two week depressive episode. As my dear friend Jay Carter, the author of always says, it takes a very long time for our brains to get back on track chemically when we have an episode. This is especially true for longer episodes. The longer the episode- the longer the recovery time. This makes sense when we read it, but when we’re going through it, we often expect life to magically get back to normal once the mood swing ends.

If it took me 30 days to recover from two weeks of depression, what does it take to recover from a massive manic and psychotic episode? It can take a year for some people. No one wants to hear this, but I believe we need to be honest with ourselves in order to survive bipolar disorder.

If we know that recovery takes time, we can go easier on ourselves.

I want to be nice to myself when I get sick. I want to and need to give myself time to recover.

Patience doesn’t come naturally for me. I tend to put myself down for not being able to work much, but wow, this is a pretty darn serious illness. I need to respect what my body experiences when I get sick and give it time to heal.

We have to be ready for recovery time after an episode. We don’t just bounce back.

We can come back. We can flourish- we can get better and back to our stable selves, but it’s a process and it always takes longer than we


Mixed Episodes And Mixed Features In The Dsm

Comparing and Contrasting: The 4 Types of Bipolar Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual s used by mental health professionals as a standard tool for diagnosis of mental health conditions. In prior versions of the DSM these mixed episodes were designated as ‘mixed episodes’, but they are not referred to as bipolar disorder with mixed features” A mixed feature episode is detailed as being:

  • Three or more depressive symptoms during a manic or hypomanic episode
  • Or, three or more hypomanic or manic symptoms during a major depressive episode

How Prevalent Is Bipolar Disorder with Mixed Features?

Since the DSM-5 has broadened the definition of bipolar disorder episode with mixed features, old statistics have become outdated. However, some studies have explored how many people do have mixed features along with the bipolar disorder. For example, one study found that 40% of major depressive episodes also included at least one symptom of hypomania. What’s more, those in the study who had that experience were more likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder later on. While more research needs to be done to get a full picture of the disorder, doctors and scientists already know that bipolar disorder episodes with mixed features are not at all uncommon.

Mixed Affective Episode Symptoms

Manic Symptoms

  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death
  • Symptoms must be present during the same two-week period

Mixed Features

How Long Do Bipolar Episodes Last

Bipolar disorder, the clinical name for manic depression, is a debilitating mental condition that is defined by oscillating periods of abnormal energy and major depression. It typically develops in individuals around late adolescence; however instances of childhood and even infant onset have been reported. Bipolar disorder is diagnosed through a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and is often managed with a combination of antidepressants and mood stabilizers such as lithium.

Common Duration

  • To be clinically considered a bipolar episode, the instance of mania or depression must last unbroken for at least seven days. Without treatment, manic episodes will last for around two to three months, while untreated depressive episodes can persist for six months or more. It is unusual for a manic episode to naturally last for more than four months. Individuals who have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder experience at least two episodes of mania and two episodes of depression in one year.

Manic Symptoms

Depressive Symptoms


Duration with Treatment

Can Bipolar Disorder Be Prevented

There is no known method to prevent bipolar disorder. Because its exact cause has not yet been determined, it is especially important to know its symptoms and seek early intervention. Regular and continued use of medication can help reduce episodes or mania and depression. Some people who experience bipolar disorder may become suicidal. By knowing how to recognize these symptoms, there is a better chance for effective treatment and finding coping methods that may prevent long periods of illness, extended hospital stays, and suicide.

Bipolar Disorder And Suicide

The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, and suicide is a major risk factor. In fact, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts tend to be more lethal.

The risk of suicide is even higher in people with bipolar disorder who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, or an early onset of the disease.

Suicide warning signs include:

  • Talking about death, self-harm, or suicide.
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless.

Blowout Arguments With Partners Coworkers Or Friends

Broken relationships are too often the result of untreated bipolar disorder.

But getting into a spat with a loved one could also be a red flag: Your argument could be due to the irritability that often occurs during a manic or depressive episode, or could itself cause stress that becomes a contributing factor for a recurrent episode.

Any type of relationship conflict — whether it’s with your partner, coworker, family member, or friend — can trigger stress and send you over the edge. In a study published in May 2015 in the Journal of Affective Disorders, people with bipolar disorder said negative social experiences were among the events that triggered suicidal thinking for them.

Symptoms Of A Mixed Episode

A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.

What Does Your Brain Look Like When You Have Depression

Grey matter in the brain refers to brain tissue that is made up of cell bodies and nerve cells. People with depression were shown to have thicker grey matter in parts of the brain involved in self-perception and emotions. This abnormality could be contributing to the problems someone with depression has in these areas.

What Is A Depressive Episode

The definition of a depressive episode is a period of depression that persists for at least two weeks. During a depressive episode, a person will typically experience low or depressed mood and/or loss of interest in most activities, as well as a number of other symptoms of depression, such as tiredness, changes in appetite, feelings of worthlessness and recurrent thoughts of death. The length of a depressive episode varies, but the average duration is thought to be six to eight months.

Depression is a common illness, and many people will experience one or more episodes of depression in their lifetime. While people of all races and ages can experience depressive episodes, they tend to be more common among women than men. People who have a history of depression, other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder or , or chronic physical conditions such as , chronic pain or multiple sclerosis, also have a higher risk of experiencing a depressive episode.

The severity of a depressive episode varies; it may be classified as major or minor, depending on the number of symptoms and degree of impairment experienced. Regardless of the severity, all depressive episodes should be taken seriously and treated promptly by a professional healthcare provider.Effective treatment, which typically involves medication and/or therapy, for depression is available.

Fighting Back And Winning

Bipolar disorder

I remained severely depressed for a year. It was like trying to crawl naked across a street littered with broken glass! My medication-management psychiatrist and I tried several medications during this period. I became increasingly discouraged with each new attempt. Some of the so-called “wonder drugs” did nothing for me but produce adverse side effects. Weight gain, excessive sleepiness, an uncomfortable “wired” feeling, insomnia, and hypervigilant paranoia were some of the awful side effects that I experienced. At the time, I had literally tried 98 percent of them. My health insurance refused to cover the remaining 2 percent.

I still suffer periodic bouts of depression, but I refuse to give up hope. I know, both intellectually and emotionally, that they are temporary. My experience with bipolar depression, that “huge, schoolyard bully,” has taught me a few things. As long as I take hold of and maintain a positive mindset; don’t isolate myself from family and friends; have my medication adjusted if needed; have a spiritual connection; meditate; have fun; and continue to fight, I am winning. Regardless of the outcome of my efforts, I am victorious.

What Is Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a chronic or episodic mental disorder. It can cause unusual, often extreme and fluctuating changes in mood, energy, activity, and concentration or focus. Bipolar disorder sometimes is called manic-depressive disorder or manic depression, which are older terms.

Everyone goes through normal ups and downs, but bipolar disorder is different. The range of mood changes can be extreme. In manic episodes, someone might feel very happy, irritable, or “up,” and there is a marked increase in activity level. In depressive episodes, someone might feel sad, indifferent, or hopeless, in combination with a very low activity level. Some people have hypomanic episodes, which are like manic episodes, but less severe and troublesome.

Most of the time, bipolar disorder develops or starts during late adolescence or early adulthood. Occasionally, bipolar symptoms can appear in children. Although the symptoms come and go, bipolar disorder usually requires lifetime treatment and does not go away on its own. Bipolar disorder can be an important factor in suicide, job loss, and family discord, but proper treatment leads to better outcomes.

Changes In Sleep Patterns Or Lack Of Sleep

A change in your sleep pattern is a hallmark symptom of bipolar disorder — but it can also be a trigger.

Shift workers, people who work long hours, and students who are short on sleep are all at risk for having a recurrence of a mood episode related to a lack of sleep. “In addition, travel beyond one’s time zone can be another trigger for a mood episode,” says Bennett.

Interpersonal and social rhythms therapy is one of the most effective preventions, Bennett says. This treatment approach, available in group as well as individual sessions, helps you develop an orderly life schedule of sleep, diet, and exercise habits, to make you more effective at managing bipolar disorder.

Other forms of therapy, including  and cognitive-behavioral therapy , can also be helpful in managing the illness.

Track Triggers And Symptoms

Keeping track of moods and symptoms might help a person understand what triggers a depressive episode. Spotting the signs of depression early on may help them avoid a full-blown depressive episode.

Use a diary to log important events, changes to daily routines, and moods. Rate moods on a scale of 1 to 10 to help identify which events or activities cause specific responses. See a doctor if symptoms persist for 14 days or more.

Bipolar Disorder Mixed Episode

Diagnostic criteria for both bipolar disorder I and bipolar disorder II are complex and have several sets of differing requirements. Both disorders can be characterized with specifiers or episodes that may occur as part of the disorder Bipolar disorder I usually requires that a person meet criteria for having had a manic episode. Although major depressive episodes are common in bipolar I disorder, they aren’t required for a diagnosis. Hypomanic episodes may also occur in bipolar I disorder but aren’t required for diagnosis. Bipolar disorder II, requires meeting criteria for hypomanic and major depressive episodes both.

A specifier of ‘mixed episode’ indicates that either a manic or hypomanic episode is occurring with features of a depressive episode present, or that a depressive episode is occurring with features of a hypomanic or manic episode.

Consequences Of Forgoing Bipolar Disorder Treatment

The National Alliance of Mental Health has reported that there are serious risks in deciding not to treat diagnosed bipolar disorder. Some of the consequences that can occur with untreated bipolar disorder include:

  • Having more severe episodes of mania and/or depression
  • Displaying risky behaviors, taking dangerous chances
  • Extreme changes in energy, activity level, sleep
  • Partaking in excessive drinking, drug abuse
  • Greater risk of suicidal ideation
  • Experience long lasting periods of unstable moods
  • Suffer from higher death rates from cancer, heart disease or stroke
  • Symptoms become more pronounced and debilitating
  • Increased involvement in illegal substances
  • Periods of irrational behaviors

About one-half of all people who have bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness do not receive treatment. While bipolar disorder is a chronic lifelong condition, treatment is effective and frees those from harsh unrelenting episodes of mania and/or depression. Untreated bipolar disorder will display symptoms and behaviors that worsen, becoming more pronounced over time.

A Bipolar Disorder Psychiatrist in Atlanta is a Phone Call Away

Proper diagnosis and treatment is just a phone call away. If you suffer from recurring mood swings and episodes of mania or depression and find it increasingly difficult to manage your life, friends, family or work, call for a confidential appointment and expert diagnosis. Make the call that can change your life for the better.

Bipolar Disorder Causes Mood Episodes

Bipolar disorder, which was previously called manic depression, is a mood disorder that causes , lasting a couple of weeks or longer, of depression or mania, and sometimes psychosis. This is a mood disorder because it causes changes in mood that are not healthy and that can disrupt a person’s life significantly. It causes abnormal patterns of thinking, behavior, and thoughts and moods that do not align with someone’s reality.

For instance, a person with bipolar disorder may have a great life with a loving family and a nice job, but during a depressive episode cannot shake the feeling that he or she is worthless. These abnormal moods usually shift between depression and mania, the latter being the opposite of depression but just as destructive and unhealthy. In severe instances, some people will also go through episodes of psychosis in which they lose touch with reality and may hallucinate or have disturbing delusions. These mood episodes can be very damaging, but they are fortunately manageable with appropriate treatment.

Causes Of Bipolar Disorder

The exact cause of Bipolar Disorders is not precisely understood. It seems to be a combination of 3 things:

1. Genetics.

2. Chemical imbalances in the brain.

3. Stress and triggering events that somehow “activate” an inherited or genetic predisposition to the disorder.

Are Bipolar I and Bipolar II treated differently?

When you go for an assessment, just like with any other illness, you will be asked about family history. A close relative such as a parent with suspected or diagnosed bipolar disorder greatly increases the likelihood other family members also having the illness.

If you are concerned, take a Bipolar test.

So far, there does not seem to be any way to prevent the illness, but you can prevent some episodes of mania or depression once a doctor establishes that you do in fact have Bipolar I Disorder.

Bipolar I almost always requires the person to take medication for effective management. Don’t worry – stability and sanity is SO worth it!3

The key factor is stabilization. Regular therapy, a healthy diet, exercise and – MOST OF ALL – mood stabilizing medications such as lithium can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of Bipolar I episodes.


Participating In Clinical Research

Comparing and Contrasting: The 4 Types of Bipolar Disorder

Clinical research is medical research that involves people like you. People volunteer to participate in carefully conducted investigations that ultimately uncover better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose, and understand human disease. Clinical research includes trials that test new treatments and therapies as well as long-term natural history studies, which provide valuable information about how disease and health progress.

Please Note: Decisions about participating in a clinical trial and determining which ones are best suited for you are best made in collaboration with your licensed health professional.

How Does It Affect People

Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder.

Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder don’t always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults.

Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just “snap out of it,” as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to.

Bipolar disorder isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw; it’s a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.


Breathe Deeply And Relax The Muscles

Deep breathing techniques are an effective way to calm anxiety and soothe the body’s response. Slowly inhaling and exhaling has physical and psychological benefits, especially when done on a daily basis.

Anyone can practice deep breathing, whether in the car, at work, or in the grocery store. Plenty of smartphone apps offer guided deep breathing activities, and many are free to download.

Progressive muscle relaxation is another helpful tool for those experiencing depression and anxiety. It involves tensing and relaxing the muscles in the body to reduce stress. Again, many smartphone apps offer guided progressive muscle relaxation exercises.

We have reviewed some meditation apps that can help with depression and anxiety.

Major Depressive Episode Symptoms

The third symptom of bipolar disorder is depression, which can severely impact a person’s daily life. A person is experiencing a major depressive episode if they are experiencing five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Severe loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in normal activities 
  • Noticeable weight loss when not trying to lose weight, weight gain, or changes in appetite 
  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or teary all the time. In children/teens, this depressed mood can present as irritability 
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep, as with insomnia
  • Having less energy or always feeling tired 
  • Feeling worthless or overly guilty 
  • Struggling to concentrate or make decisions 
  • Feeling suicidal or having suicidal thoughts
Are you in a crisis?

Emergency resources

While bipolar disorder can cause a person to feel depressed, this condition is not the same as getting diagnosed with depression. Bipolar disorder is marked by periods of two extremes: Mania or hypomania, the “up,” and major depressive episodes, the “down.” In contrast, depression causes moods and emotions that are always “down” without any moments of high energy.

What Is Bipolar I Disorder

I disorder is a form of mental illness. A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in their life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated or irritable mood and high energy, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.

Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of . Often, there is a pattern of cycling between and . This is where the term “manic depression” comes from. In between episodes of and , many people with bipolar I disorder can live normal lives.


What Is Bipolar 2 Disorder

Bipolar 2 disorder involves a major depressive episode lasting at least two weeks and at least one hypomanic episode . People with bipolar 2 typically don’t experience manic episodes intense enough to require hospitalization.

Bipolar 2 is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression, as depressive symptoms may be the major symptom at the time the person seeks medical attention. When there are no manic episodes to suggest bipolar disorder, the depressive symptoms become the focus.

As mentioned above, bipolar 1 disorder causes mania and may cause depression, while bipolar 2 disorder causes hypomania and depression. Let’s learn more about what these mean.

Understanding Manic Episodes Of Bipolar Disorder

The way bipolar disorder symptoms manifest, the duration of symptoms, and the overall effect on a person may vary greatly from person to person.  The manic symptoms of bipolar disorder may be especially difficult for some people to understand as people may react differently during these episodes.  For example, when manic episodes occur, one person may experience mania or hypomania episodes with feelings of frustration or irritability while another may exhibit a decreased need for sleep, accelerated thinking, or hyperactivity.

When manic symptoms of bipolar disorder emerge, it’s not uncommon for one to experience feelings of creativity, heightened energy, or euphoria.  Some people may feel they are destined for greatness or are invincible.

While the overall feeling of increased energy and euphoria may feel good at first, manic episodes can cause a spiral in emotions.  For instance, during this phase, some people engage in dangerous or inappropriate behavior.  They may become sexually promiscuous, gamble, or go on spending sprees.  Some people are easily angered, may start fights or lash out at others, or blame those who criticize their behavior.

Some common symptoms of manic episodes include:

  • Sleeping less, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Racing thoughts that jump from one subject to another quickly
  • Talking rapidly
  • Difficulty concentrating, easily distracted

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