Bipolar Spectrum
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Q:  Bipolar Spectrum


I HAVE RECENTLY BEEN TOLD I HAVE A MOOD DISORDER.....HE SAID  I DO NOT HAVE   MANIC- DEPRESSION BUT BIPOLAR SPECTRUM DISORDER....WHAT IS THAT? TO ME AND MY RESHEARCH THERE IS NO SUCH LABEL.....HE TOLD ME TO GOTO WWW.PSYCOM.NET TO FIND OUT BUT STILL THERES BIPOLAR 1 AND 11 BUT NOT THIS LABEL?CAN YOU HELP ME PLEASE..I AM VERY SCARED AND NERVOUS....I JUST THOUGHT I HAD BAD BAD ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS WITH SOME OCD NOW THIS.....I HAVE NEVER BEEN TOLD THIS BEFORE..SHOULD I GET ANOTHER OPION........AND WHAT IS IT? also do you know of any good dr.in the south florida area......broward or palm  beach or miami...thanks so much..god bless.....

michelle
 

Dear Michelle -- 
You're right, the terms we use for these conditions are pretty confusing.  Trying again (and there's more history on this on my website if you start the section on bipolar II from the beginning, patient's full story version): the whole bipolar thing used to be called manic-depressive disorder.  Now we recognize that there are lots of variations.  Some of those variations are common enough to have gotten there own names, but all of them fit under the same umbrella.  The umbrella is sometime referred to has "bipolar spectrum conditions".  The named ones are: 

  • Bipolar I:        the full picture of mania and depression, what used to be called manic-depressive
  • Bipolar II:       the "mania" is less dramatic ("hypomania"), no losing contact with reality -- but otherwise same
  • Cyclothymia:   hypomania and less severe depressive cycles

So, the "spectrum" part is meant to indicate that there are a lot of versions of this condition, some of which overlap with anxiety conditions like OCD.  Now the test of all this diagnosis stuff is getting better with the treatment the diagnosis leads to -- so pretty soon you'll be able to focus on the treatment effectiveness as your gauge, instead of having to worry about the diagnosis.  I think you could try the treatment being offered under the "bipolar spectrum" concept first and see how that goes before you look at a second opinion (that's my opinion).

Dr. Phelps


 Published August, 2002

 

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