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Vol 5, No 3 (2008)
Editorial
Published online: 2008-10-03
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The concept of spectrum of bipolar affective illness

Janusz Rybakowski
Psychiatria 2008;5(3):75-82.

open access

Vol 5, No 3 (2008)
Artykuły redakcyjne
Published online: 2008-10-03

Abstract

Emil Kraepelin became a precursor of contemporary psychiatric classification by separating in 1899 manic-depressive disorder (manisch-depressives Irrensein) from a group of disorders called "dementia praecox". In the 20th century history of psychiatric classification, a separation of unipolar from bipolar affective disorders made a significant event. From mid 1970s, the types of bipolar mood disorder have been distinguished such as bipolar I and bipolar II, rapid cycling and seasonal disorder. Epidemiological studies using broader criteria of bipolarity have pointed at more frequent prevalence of bipolar mood disorders (non-bipolar I), as several percent of the population. New tools for measuring bipolarity have been elaborated, such as e.g. Mood Disorders Questionnaire. The term "bipolar spectrum" has been introduced, which is used in various sense. One meaning denotes diagnostic space between bipolar illness type II and unipolar depression. In Polish DEP-BI study it was found that the frequency of bipolar spectrum conceived in this way accounts for 12% of patients treated by psychiatrists for depression. The concept of bipolar spectrum introduced by Hagop Akiskal covers a continuum of disturbances, which, beginning from classic form of illness (bipolar I) extends to all types of affective disturbances having bipolar features. This author presented 7 subtypes of bipolar spectrum (from I to II including also intermediates, like I ½ ) where the main criterion for placing on continuum is intensity of features connected with elevated mood. In recent studies on bipolar spectrum, a significance of such clinical types as mixed depression and frequently recurrent depression, and a role of such tools as Hypomania Checklist (HCL-32) and bipolarity index have been pointed out.

Abstract

Emil Kraepelin became a precursor of contemporary psychiatric classification by separating in 1899 manic-depressive disorder (manisch-depressives Irrensein) from a group of disorders called "dementia praecox". In the 20th century history of psychiatric classification, a separation of unipolar from bipolar affective disorders made a significant event. From mid 1970s, the types of bipolar mood disorder have been distinguished such as bipolar I and bipolar II, rapid cycling and seasonal disorder. Epidemiological studies using broader criteria of bipolarity have pointed at more frequent prevalence of bipolar mood disorders (non-bipolar I), as several percent of the population. New tools for measuring bipolarity have been elaborated, such as e.g. Mood Disorders Questionnaire. The term "bipolar spectrum" has been introduced, which is used in various sense. One meaning denotes diagnostic space between bipolar illness type II and unipolar depression. In Polish DEP-BI study it was found that the frequency of bipolar spectrum conceived in this way accounts for 12% of patients treated by psychiatrists for depression. The concept of bipolar spectrum introduced by Hagop Akiskal covers a continuum of disturbances, which, beginning from classic form of illness (bipolar I) extends to all types of affective disturbances having bipolar features. This author presented 7 subtypes of bipolar spectrum (from I to II including also intermediates, like I ½ ) where the main criterion for placing on continuum is intensity of features connected with elevated mood. In recent studies on bipolar spectrum, a significance of such clinical types as mixed depression and frequently recurrent depression, and a role of such tools as Hypomania Checklist (HCL-32) and bipolarity index have been pointed out.
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Keywords

bipolar affective illness; mania; hypomania; depression; bipolar spectrum; Mood Disorder Questionnaire; Hypomania Checklist HCL-32

About this article
Title

The concept of spectrum of bipolar affective illness

Journal

Psychiatria (Psychiatry)

Issue

Vol 5, No 3 (2008)

Article type

Editorial

Pages

75-82

Published online

2008-10-03

Bibliographic record

Psychiatria 2008;5(3):75-82.

Keywords

bipolar affective illness
mania
hypomania
depression
bipolar spectrum
Mood Disorder Questionnaire
Hypomania Checklist HCL-32

Authors

Janusz Rybakowski

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