Bipolar disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a life-long mood disorder that causes intense shifts in mood, energy levels, and behavior. According to the National Library of Medicine, bipolar disorder is a “chronic and complex disorder of mood that is characterized by a combination of manic (bipolar mania), hypomanic and depressive (bipolar depression) episodes, with substantial subsyndromal symptoms that commonly present between major mood episodes.” The diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-5, explains that bipolar disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences three or more manic symptoms and five or more depressive symptoms. There are certain symptoms that occur more frequently than others. According to a 2021 study out of India, for example, approximately half of all individuals with bipolar disorder experience symptoms of psychosis.
Psychosis a term used that encompasses a set of psychiatric symptoms that is broadly characterized by an impaired relationship with reality. Psychosis in bipolar disorder can happen during manic or depressive episodes but is more common during episodes of mania. Symptoms of psychosis in bipolar disorder may involve one or more of the following, provided by Medical News Today:
- Hallucinations: sensations (heard, seen, felt, tasted, or smelled) that appear to be real but are not. Hallucinations, for example, may include seeing things that are not there or hearing non-existent voices.
- Delusions: as defined in an article published by the Industrial Psychiatry Journal, are “false beliefs based on incorrect inference about external reality that persist despite the evidence to the contrary.”
- Disorganized thinking, speech, and behavior: making conversational connections that are illogical to others.
- A lack of insight and self-awareness.
Sometimes the delusions and hallucinations that accompany bipolar symptoms match a person’s current mood, in which case they are called mood-congruent symptoms. When a person’s symptoms of psychosis contrast with their current mood, they are experiencing mood-incongruent symptoms. The pattern of symptoms will vary between individuals and according to the situation. When bipolar disorder is accompanied by psychotic episodes the official diagnosis is typically bipolar disorder with psychotic features (sometimes referred to as bipolar psychosis). Research indicates that psychosis occurs in up to 60% of individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
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The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.