Bipolar Cycling: A Better Understanding

When discussing bipolar cycling, lets first talk about rapid cycling.  Rapid cycling is when a person who has bipolar disorder has four or more episodes of depression and mania in a years time. These episodes can be separated by periods of normal moods.

Another term used when describing bipolar cycling is a ‘switch’. This simply means that a person goes from having a depressed episode right into an episode of mania with no normal mood in between them. This is considered to be worse than just regular rapid cycling.

When you are learning about these cycling episodes it is best to do research on everything you can find. Knowledge makes this disorder seem less scary.

The next type of cycling is when a person is experiencing depression, then goes immediately into a mania phase and then has a period of normal moods. This describes the term biphasic cycling.

Yet still another type of bipolar cycling is when you experience ‘multiphasic’ cycling. This would be when goes from depression straight into mania and then straight into depression again. These multiphasic cycles can come to an end eventually and switch into a state of normal mood.

While this type of cycling sounds difficult and hard to accept, there is yet another type of cycling which is worse still. It is called ‘continuous cycling’. Meaning exactly what it sounds like, continuous. Going from depression to mania to depression etc. with no normal mood in between. These phases can be long or short or even mixed.

Sometimes drugs can cause these patterns, especially the switch cycles. And sometimes a physician will prescribe an anti-depression medication to indeed cause a switch to mania or to cause the acceleration of a cycle. But when these types of drugs are used in these cases it is for as short of a period as possible with as low a dose as possible.

Usually these rapid cycles occur more frequently in the beginning stages of bipolar disorder. They tend to stabilize when some type of treatment is used.

I hope this explains bipolar cycling in a way that is easy to understand. Bipolar disorder is a very
in depth illness so any time you can learn about any aspect of it and actually understand, it will only benefit you or someone you know. And that is what this blog is all about…learning.