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The ECNP consensus statement on bipolar depression
Date:8/31/2008

This release is available in Spanish.

Bipolar disorder is one of the most important psychiatric diseases, often associated with considerable treatment needs and tremendous social and occupational burden for both the individual and family (Pini et al., 2005). Previously also labelled manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is typically referred to as an episodic, yet lifelong and clinically severe mood (or affective) disorder.

Mood in bipolar disorder may swing from euphoria and/or extreme irritability (defined as mania) to depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure (bipolar depression). Less severe mood elevation (hypomanic episodes) characterise so-called Bipolar II disorder. Thus bipolar disorder may be divided into two major subtypes Bipolar I and Bipolar II although emerging data reveal that further extension of the bipolar spectrum (at the expense of unipolar depression) may be of broad clinical relevance.

  • Bipolar I disorder is characterized by a history of at least one manic episode, with or without depressive symptoms.
  • Bipolar II disorder is characterized by the presence of both depressive symptoms and a less severe form of mania (hypomania).

Acute episodes may vary in duration as well as intensity over time. Early in the course of the disease, for example, the periods between acute episodes may last months or even years, but later these symptom-free periods tend to decrease. Rapid cycling a not infrequent course variant is defined as suffering from 4 or more episodes per year. Clinical decisions pertaining to the treatment of bipolar disorder essentially are grouped around the topics of depression, mania, and rapid cycling/mixed states.

Epidemiology

Recent studies have suggested that bipolar disorders are much more frequent than previously thought. Almost 2% of the EU-popu
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Contact: Sonja Mak
s.mak@update.europe.at
43-140-557-340
European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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