Found the following article about bipolar cycles. From my reading, this applies to all cases but is even more apparent when dealing with less obvious forms of bipolar such as Bipolar 2 and Rapid Cycling.
Diagnosies are made on the basis of the DSM-IV, which is a big fat book which contains information about all known mental disorders, how to diagnose them and possible tratment codes for insurance purposes. The main problem is that the current book sees Bipolar disorders as a black-and-white (either you have it or you don’t) disorder. From my doctor, the new upcoming DSM-V will likely consider Bipolar as a spectrum disorder which is more accurate. To quote the article.
You see, according to the current official rules of diagnosis (the DSM), “mixed states” include only phases of full manic and full depressive symptoms.. (If the idea that these can occur together is news to you, better jump back to the main page on diagnosis and return here after that; for best navigation of the entire bipolar portion of this website, use this introduction). Similarly, those same rules only allow cycles as short as 4 days. Any shorter doesn’t fit on the DSM map.
But patients do have other combinations of depression and hypomania, or mania — not just the two worst phases together. And they do have cycles shorter than 4 days. The DSM can’t really handle these variations, but the model shown here handles them very well. When I show these pictures to my patients, I often see the “light bulb” go on in their head.
What I probably found most interesting is the fact that the article breaks down the components of Bipolar into three categories: Mood, Energy and Intellect and how their level can cycle at different rates, leading to various states or “feelings”. Which is what is refered to as Mixed State.
Looking at the graph, It sure explains alot of things for me. Probably doesn’t explain much for someone who does not have bipolar symptoms. But it does explain how I can go from a stage of total depression to, for example, a stage of high energy with low motivation (restlessness)….