Bipolar disorder

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In psychiatry, bipolar disorder is a "major affective disorder marked by severe mood swings (manic or major depressive episodes) and a tendency to remission and recurrence."[1] Bipolar disorder—which is alternately known as manic-depression—is a mental illness first defined by Emil Kraeplin, which he distinguished from schizophrenia. The exact relationship between bipolar disorder and various other mental illnesses—including schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder—is not clear.


Twin studies show the heritability of bipolar disorder to be over 80%.[2][3][4]

Childhood bipolar disorder

For more information, see: Bipolar disorder in children.

Bipolar disorder is a controversial diagnosis in children and adolescents[5][6] that is increasing.[7]

The relationship between childhood bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is uncertain.[6]

A clinical practice guideline, although not based on systematic review of the research, addresses childhood bipolar disorder.[8]


Tranquilizing agents, specifically anti-mania agents and antipsychotic agents, may help. These medications may be called mood stabilizers.[9]


  1. Anonymous (2022), Bipolar disorder (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. McGuffin P, Rijsdijk F, Andrew M, Sham P, Katz R, Cardno A (2003). "The heritability of bipolar affective disorder and the genetic relationship to unipolar depression.". Arch Gen Psychiatry 60 (5): 497-502. DOI:10.1001/archpsyc.60.5.497. PMID 12742871. Research Blogging.
  3. Kieseppä T, Partonen T, Haukka J, Kaprio J, Lönnqvist J (2004). "High concordance of bipolar I disorder in a nationwide sample of twins.". Am J Psychiatry 161 (10): 1814-21. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.161.10.1814. PMID 15465978. Research Blogging.
  4. Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man, OMIM®. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. MIM Number: 125480. World Wide Web URL:
  5. Holden C (July 2008). "Bipolar disorder. Poles apart". Science (New York, N.Y.) 321 (5886): 193–5. DOI:10.1126/science.321.5886.193. PMID 18621651. Research Blogging.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kuehn BM (March 2007). "Scientists probe child bipolar disorder". JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association 297 (11): 1181. DOI:10.1001/jama.297.11.1181. PMID 17374805. Research Blogging.
  7. Moreno C, Laje G, Blanco C, Jiang H, Schmidt AB, Olfson M (September 2007). "National trends in the outpatient diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in youth". Archives of general psychiatry 64 (9): 1032–9. DOI:10.1001/archpsyc.64.9.1032. PMID 17768268. Research Blogging.
  8. McClellan J, Kowatch R, Findling RL (January 2007). "Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder". Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 46 (1): 107–25. DOI:10.1097/01.chi.0000242240.69678.c4. PMID 17195735. Research Blogging. Complete summary at National Guidelines Clearinghouse
  9. Jones RM, Arlidge J, Gillham R, Reagu S, van den Bree M, Taylor PJ (2011). "Efficacy of mood stabilisers in the treatment of impulsive or repetitive aggression: systematic review and meta-analysis.". Br J Psychiatry 198: 93-8. DOI:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.083030. PMID 21282779. Research Blogging.