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How common is rapid cycling in people with bipolar disorder?

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Rapid cycling is a pattern of frequent and distinct episodes of mood swings in bipolar disorder. It’s when you have 4 or more episodes of mania (elation and high energy) or depression (sadness, despair) in one year. About 10% to 20% of people who have bipolar disorder go through rapid cycling. The cycling pattern isn’t necessarily permanent.

SOURCES:
National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Bipolar Disorder."
Bowden, C. Medscape, Psychiatry and Mental Health, April 23, 2003.
Schneck, C. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2006.
Calabrese, J. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, October 2004.
Barrios, C. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, December 2001.
Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health: "Assessing Suicide Risk in Patients with Bipolar Disorder," Jan. 22, 2008.
McIntyre, R. Current Psychiatry Reports, January 2008.
Goodwin, F. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 17, 2003.
Medscape, Psychiatry & Mental Health: "Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder," Dec. 5, 2005.
Conway, K. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, February 2006.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on September 12, 2020

SOURCES:
National Institute of Mental Health web site: "Bipolar Disorder."
Bowden, C. Medscape, Psychiatry and Mental Health, April 23, 2003.
Schneck, C. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2006.
Calabrese, J. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, October 2004.
Barrios, C. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, December 2001.
Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health: "Assessing Suicide Risk in Patients with Bipolar Disorder," Jan. 22, 2008.
McIntyre, R. Current Psychiatry Reports, January 2008.
Goodwin, F. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 17, 2003.
Medscape, Psychiatry & Mental Health: "Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder," Dec. 5, 2005.
Conway, K. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, February 2006.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on September 12, 2020

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When is rapid cycling in bipolar disorder diagnosed?

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