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Types of Bipolar Disorder

SPOTLIGHT ON....Is information and depiction suggestions on important health issues for YOU...the creative community.

Hopefully, these will not only be the impetus for fresh story ideas, but will also imbue scripts with realistic and accurate portrayals of health issues facing the public today. They are designed to enhance the creative process - not limit it!
Bipolar I Disorder
  • Characterized by one or more manic episodes or mixed episodes (symptoms of both mania and depression occurring nearly every day for at least one week)
  • One or more major depressive episodes
  • Most severe form of the illness, marked by extreme manic episodes.
Bipolar II Disorder
  • Diagnosed after one or more major depressive episodes (at least one episode of hypomania) and possible periods of level mood between episodes.
  • Highs in bipolar II (called hypomanias) are not as high as those in bipolar I (manias).
  • Bipolar II is diagnosed for people who have recurring depressions and experience periods of hypomania
Stigma: The Name Game

Misinformation and ignorance often lead to inaccurate stereotypes, fears, and pervasive myths that can stigmatize the illness. Words as "crazy" and "psycho" have become common derogatory terms that many take lightly; but these words can be extremely harmful to those living with mental illness.

Remember, small changes can make a big difference.

By communicating accurate information through entertainment, the industry can help general audiences gain knowledge that will lead to greater understanding, fewer fears and myths, and decreased stigma.

Bipolar Disorder vs. Mood Swings
  • Intensity: mood swings that come with bipolar disorder are usually more severe than ordinary mood swings
  • Length: A bad mood is usually gone in a few days, but mania or depression can last weeks or months
  • Interferences with Life: The extremes in mood that come with bipolar disorder can severely disrupt the sufferer's life.
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More Information
To read more about Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder, visit EIC.
Spotlight On...
Helpful Terms
When creating a new character with bipolar disorder, take these terms into consideration:
  • Hypomania: extreme high moods in bipolar disorder
  • Cyclothymia: milder form of bipolar disorder. Includes several hypomanic episodes and less severe episodes of depression that alternate for at least two years.
  • Rapid cycling: present in diagnoses when a person experiences four or more manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes in any 12-month period.
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Depiction Suggestions
If your character has any of  these aforementioned traits, he or she might speak to a health care provider about these energetic episodes and find out they might be hypomanic.

A correct diagnosis of bipolar II disorder can help a sufferer find treatment that may also lift the depression.

This situation would provide ongoing dramatic opportunities, while informing audiences about the symptoms of diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

This newsletter is supported by a contribution from AstraZeneca.
About Us
Content Related to Mental Health Issues brought to you by the Entertainment and Media Communication Institute's Center on Mental Health, the research and strategy division of the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.