Bipolar disorder is a biological illness that affects your ability to regulate your mood and leads to feelings of extreme happiness, intense sadness, or heightened irritability. It is considered an illness because, like other medical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes, it occurs after a biological change in your body, has well-described symptoms, and causes distress to people who have it. The icd 9 bipolar code is 296.80.
A bipolar disorder has many subtypes and when the diagnosed patient does not fall within these subtypes it’s called bipolar NOS disorder. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is considered when a person has had at least one episode of mania or hypo-mania (a less intense form of mania). Many people with bipolar disorder also experience periods of depression, which is why the term “bipolar” is used.
Over the past decade, bipolar disorder, which is defined by symptoms of mania, has captured the public imagination and become the focus of many movies. Rates of diagnosis have soared, and Armani even markets a perfume named Mania.
On the one hand, we’ve been given images of highly accomplished individuals who have this condition. Kay Redfield Jamison (1993) has described evidence that authors Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens, musician Robert Schumann, and artists Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko all had this disorder.
The way people experience the symptoms of bipolar disorder is highly individualized. Your experience will have both similarities to and differences from the experience of others. However, one aspect is consistent: At some point, these symptoms cause distress or make it hard to function at work, school, or home, or with family and friends.
Many people with bipolar disorder need professional help, such as seeing a psychiatrist or being temporarily hospitalized, in order to manage their symptoms, remain in good health, maintain their relationships, and enjoy a higher quality of life.
On the other hand, all too often people with bipolar disorder struggle with sustaining jobs, relationships, and self-esteem due to mood episodes, and we are flooded with media images that portray the dark side of an uncontrolled, untreated illness. In the midst of these conflicting images, it can be hard to obtain carefully documented information about what the disorder really is and how to manage it well.
For many people, mood episodes, hospitalizations, and encounters with doctors can go by in a confusing blur. For most people with bipolar disorder, medications will be the mainstay of treatment. However several different types of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder, and even within a given category of medication, there are many different options.
Studies of thousands of people with bipolar disorder has clearly shown that adding psychotherapy to medications can help people recover from mood episodes more quickly, maintain their periods of wellness, improve their social relationships, restore their work lives, and reduce their odds of hospitalization.
Because bipolar disorder symptoms often come and go, most people want to know why their symptoms emerge at a given time. You need to be aware of the common triggers of depression and mania.
By knowing when and how episodes might arise, you can enhance your sense that these episodes can be predictable and therefore controllable. Most importantly, being aware of triggers and early signs of relapse provides an opportunity to cope with those early warning signs. Evidence shows that this awareness helps people stay well.