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Rapid cycling: How to spot the signs
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Rapid cycling: How to spot the signs

Post by on Saturday, August 28, 2021

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Rapid cycling is a kind of bipolar disorder marked by rapid mood changes. Bipolar disorder is diagnosed when a person has a hypomanic or manic episode followed by numerous bouts of mania, hypomania, or depression. On the other hand, Rapid Cycling is diagnosed when someone has four or more mood episodes in a twelve-month period. A rapid cycling episode typically involves depression, mania, or hypomania. Some people with bipolar disorder alternate between manic and depressive episodes once or twice a year, while a few others may only have this experience every several years. However, a tiny fraction of people have rapid cycling, in which mood changes occur quickly and frequently.
Bipolar Disorder is characterised by at least one mania or hypomania episode in the patient's lifetime, and depression episodes, which are frequently recurring. Mania is defined as a period of abnormally heightened mood and high energy that is generally accompanied by unpredictable conduct and lasts at least seven days. Hypomania is defined as an elevated mood that does not progress to full-blown mania and lasts at least four days. A few patients with rapid cycling bipolar illness experience periods of hypomania followed by periods of severe depressive disorder. However, persistent and distinct periods of melancholy dominate the picture far more frequently. Instances of depression are interspersed by occasional, shorter periods of enhanced or normal mood.
According to the American Psychological Association, Rapid Cycling is a specifier for bipolar disorder defined by four or more mood episodes over a 12-month period; the episodes must be separated by symptom-free intervals of at least two months or must be delimited by transitioning to an episode of opposite polarity (e.g., a major depressive episode switches to a manic, mixed, or hypomanic episode). Consequently, the characteristics of rapid cycling are the same as those of any other kind of bipolar disorder. Only the rate at which they alternate differs. The condition can have a significant impact on one's capacity to operate as well as one's quality of life.
Symptoms may appear during adolescence, although they can be difficult to recognise due to mood fluctuations that are prevalent at this time of development. Bipolar disorder, in addition to mood fluctuations, produces variations in energy levels and behaviours known as cycles. A person must only have one manic episode to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Despite the term, depression may not ever be present with bipolar disorder.
The most noticeable sign of rapid cycling is an abnormally frequent shift from mania or hypomania to depression and back again. Manic episodes in bipolar 1 last at least seven days fewer if they are severe enough to need hospitalisation. In certain situations, bipolar 1 may also involve depressive episodes. It is also possible to experience mixed episodes that contain signs of both mania and depression. Depressive episodes alternate with hypomania in bipolar 2 rather than full-fledged manic episodes. Rapid cycling, on the other side, has four or more episodes of any sort during a 12-month period. These mood fluctuations occur at random and might persist for several days or weeks. Some may be significantly shorter or longer than others. These rapid cycle patterns differ from person to person. Some people begin with rapid cycling, others experience it gradually. In either case, this bipolar pattern might make it difficult to operate. Mood fluctuations in rapid-cycling bipolar disorder can be spontaneous and unexpected. There is no fixed pattern for when an episode will occur or what form it will take. In some situations, the episodes cycle every few months; in others, they cycle monthly or weekly.
It is not known why rapid cycling happens or if it will be a permanent pattern or one that will be resolved later. In certain situations, rapid cycling may be a prelude to more serious symptoms of the condition, such as psychosis.
According to some estimates, between 5% and 10% of persons with bipolar illness will satisfy the diagnostic criteria for rapid cycling. While scientists have yet to determine the condition's aetiology, they have found a number of prevalent risk factors.
?      Sex: Women tend to be more vulnerable than males, which some believe is due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
?      Age: People who develop bipolar symptoms in their adolescence are more likely to become rapid cyclers.
?      Type of bipolar: People suffering from bipolar 2 disorder are more prone to undergo rapid cycling.
Because a single mood episode can often just grow and wane without resolving, rapid cycling bipolar disorder can be difficult to detect. As a result, they do not always reflect independent and distinct occurrences. Rapid cycling may seem to make the changing mood states of bipolar disorder more evident.  Because most patients with rapid cycling bipolar illness spend considerably more time depressed than manic or hypomanic, they are frequently misdiagnosed with unipolar depression.
To conclude, a person suffering from rapid cycling has four or more bouts of mania or depression in a single year, which can happen at any point over the course of bipolar disorder. It can last for years depending on how well the disorder is handled; it is not always a "permanent" or endless pattern of episodes.

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