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What is a rapid cycling pattern in bipolar disorder?

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Rapid cycling is a pattern of frequent and distinct episodes of mood swings in bipolar disorder. In rapid cycling, you have 4 or more episodes of mania (elation and high energy) or depression (sadness, despair) in one year. You may cycle at any point during your bipolar disorder. The periods can come and go over many years depending on how well the illness is treated. Rapid cycling is not necessarily a permanent pattern.

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









Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy,Current Psychiatry Reports,The Journal of the American Medical Association,Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on May 11, 2018

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









Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy,Current Psychiatry Reports,The Journal of the American Medical Association,Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on May 11, 2018

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How common is rapid cycling in people with bipolar disorder?

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