Bipolar II disorder: epidemiology, diagnosis and management
ABSTRACT Bipolar II disorder (BP-II) is defined, by DSM-IV, as recurrent episodes of depression and hypomania. Hypomania, according to DSM-IV, requires elevated (euphoric) and/or irritable mood, plus at least three of the following symptoms (four if mood is only irritable): grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, increased talking, racing thoughts, distractibility, overactivity (an increase in goal-directed activity), psychomotor agitation and excessive involvement in risky activities. This observable change in functioning should not be severe enough to cause marked impairment of social or occupational functioning, or to require hospitalisation. The distinction between BP-II and bipolar I disorder (BP-I) is not clearcut. The symptoms of mania (defining BP-I) and hypomania (defining BP-II) are the same, apart from the presence of psychosis in mania, and the distinction is based on the presence of marked impairment associated with mania, i.e. mania is more severe and may require hospitalisation. This is an unclear boundary that can lead to misclassification; however, the fact that hypomania often increases functioning makes the distinction between mania and hypomania clearer. BP-II depression can be syndromal and subsyndromal, and it is the prominent feature of BP-II. It is often a mixed depression, i.e. it has concurrent, usually subsyndromal, hypomanic symptoms. It is the depression that usually leads the patient to seek treatment.DSM-IV bipolar disorders (BP-I, BP-II, cyclothymic disorder and bipolar disorder not otherwise classified, which includes very rapid cycling and recurrent hypomania) are now considered to be part of the 'bipolar spectrum'. This is not included in DSM-IV, but is thought to also include antidepressant/substance-associated hypomania, cyclothymic temperament (a trait of highly unstable mood, thinking and behaviour), unipolar mixed depression and highly recurrent unipolar depression.BP-II is underdiagnosed in clinical practice, and its pharmacological treatment is understudied. Underdiagnosis is demonstrated by recent epidemiological studies. While, in DSM-IV, BP-II is reported to have a lifetime community prevalence of 0.5%, epidemiological studies have instead found that it has a lifetime community prevalence (including the bipolar spectrum) of around 5%. In depressed outpatients, one in two may have BP-II. The recent increased diagnosing of BP-II in research settings is related to several factors, including the introduction of the use of semi-structured interviews by trained research clinicians, a relaxation of diagnostic criteria such that the minimum duration of hypomania is now less than the 4 days stipulated by DSM-IV, and a probing for a history of hypomania focused more on overactivity (increased goal-directed activity) than on mood change (although this is still required for a diagnosis of hypomania). Guidelines on the treatment of BP-II are mainly consensus based and tend to follow those for the treatment of BP-I, because there have been few controlled studies of the treatment of BP-II. The current, limited evidence supports the following lines of treatment for BP-II. Hypomania is likely to respond to the same agents useful for mania, i.e. mood-stabilising agents such as lithium and valproate, and the second-generation antipsychotics (i.e. olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, ziprasidone, aripiprazole). Hypomania should be treated even if associated with overfunctioning, because a depression often soon follows hypomania (the hypomania-depression cycle). For the treatment of acute BP-II depression, two controlled studies of quetiapine have not found clearcut positive effects. Naturalistic studies, although open to several biases, have found antidepressants in acute BP-II depression to be as effective as in unipolar depression; however, one recent large controlled study (mainly in patients with BP-I) has found antidepressants to be no more effective than placebo. Results from naturalistic studies and clinical observations on mixed depression, while in need of replication in controlled studies, indicate that antidepressants may worsen the concurrent intradepression hypomanic symptoms. The only preventive treatment for both depression and hypomania that is supported by several, albeit older, controlled studies is lithium. Lamotrigine has shown some efficacy in delaying depression recurrences, but there have also been several negative unpublished studies of the drug in this indication.
- SourceAvailable from: Ann Gardner
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
- "Some cases of treatment-resistant presumably unipolar depression may respond remarkably well to lithium (A.G., personal observation). However, it cannot be excluded that such cases in fact have bipolar II for which lithium is the only preventive treatment for both depression and hypomania that is supported by several controlled studies (Benazzi, 2007). Lithium is also in use in the treatment of cluster headache (Steiner et al., 1997; Van Alboom et al., 2009). "
ABSTRACT: For many years, a deficiency of monoamines including serotonin has been the prevailing hypothesis on depression, yet research has failed to confirm consistent relations between brain serotonin and depression. High degrees of overlapping comorbidities and common drug efficacies suggest that depression is one of a family of related conditions sometimes referred to as the "affective spectrum disorders", and variably including migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and generalized anxiety disorder, among many others. Herein, we present data from many different experimental modalities that strongly suggest components of mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation in the pathogenesis of depression and other affective spectrum disorders. The three concepts of monoamines, energy metabolism and inflammatory pathways are inter-related in many complex manners. For example, the major categories of drugs used to treat depression have been demonstrated to exert effects on mitochondria and inflammation, as well as on monoamines. Furthermore, commonly-used mitochondrial-targeted treatments exert effects on mitochondria and inflammation, and are increasingly being shown to demonstrate efficacy in the affective spectrum disorders. We propose that interactions among monoamines, mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation can inspire explanatory, rather than mere descriptive, models of these disorders.Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 04/2011; 35(3):730-43. DOI:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2010.07.030 · 4.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
- "However, in this review they will be treated as separate entities. BD and unipolar depression differ in their responsiveness to antidepressants (Ghaemi et al., 2004; Sachs et al., 2000), their clinical history including the presence of manic or hypomanic episodes in BD, clinical characteristics of depression (Benazzi, 2007), and family history. BD has a heritability of 86-90%, while major depression has a heritability of 48-75% (McGuffin et al., 2003). "
ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a major medical and social burden, whose cause, pathophysiology and treatment are not agreed on. It is characterized by recurrent periods of mania and depression (Bipolar I) or of hypomania and depression (Bipolar II). Its inheritance is polygenic, with evidence of a neurotransmission imbalance and disease progression. Patients often take multiple agents concurrently, with incomplete therapeutic success, particularly with regard to depression. Suicide is common. Of the hypotheses regarding the action of mood stabilizers in BD, the "arachidonic acid (AA) cascade" hypothesis is presented in detail in this review. It is based on evidence that chronic administration of lithium, carbamazepine, sodium valproate, or lamotrigine to rats downregulated AA turnover in brain phospholipids, formation of prostaglandin E(2), and/or expression of AA cascade enzymes, including cytosolic phospholipase A(2), cyclooxygenase-2 and/or acyl-CoA synthetase. The changes were selective for AA, since brain docosahexaenoic or palmitic acid metabolism, when measured, was unaffected, and topiramate, ineffective in BD, did not modify the rat brain AA cascade. Downregulation of the cascade by the mood stabilizers corresponded to inhibition of AA neurotransmission via dopaminergic D(2)-like and glutamatergic NMDA receptors. Unlike the mood stabilizers, antidepressants that increase switching of bipolar depression to mania upregulated the rat brain AA cascade. These observations suggest that the brain AA cascade is a common target of mood stabilizers, and that bipolar symptoms, particularly mania, are associated with an upregulated cascade and excess AA signaling via D(2)-like and NMDA receptors. This review presents ways to test these suggestions.Brain Research Reviews 07/2009; 61(2):185-209. DOI:10.1016/j.brainresrev.2009.06.003 · 5.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
- "Although some may be due to biological diversities, much is due to different traditions in treatment and different attitudes towards particular agents and also the evidence upon which different approaches are based is limited or is subject to varying interpretation. For the bipolar spectrum, treatment guidelines, when published, differ even more, since the nosological issue, especially the delineation from unipolar depression, is not conclusively settled (Benazzi 2007; Goodwin et al. 2008). Given these diagnostic uncertainties and a lack of controlled evidence for treatment of the bipolar spectrum, all current guidelines , including this one, concentrate on Bipolar I disorder; if evidence is available, some more recent guidelines also include recommendations on the treatment of bipolar II disorder. "
ABSTRACT: These updated guidelines are based on a first edition that was published in 2003, and have been edited and updated with the available scientific evidence until end of 2008. Their purpose is to supply a systematic overview of all scientific evidence pertaining to the treatment of acute mania in adults. The data used for these guidelines have been extracted from a MEDLINE and EMBASE search, from the clinical trial database clinicaltrials.gov, from recent proceedings of key conferences, and from various national and international treatment guidelines. Their scientific rigor was categorised into six levels of evidence (A-F). As these guidelines are intended for clinical use, the scientific evidence was finally asigned different grades of recommendation to ensure practicability.The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 05/2009; 10(2):85-116. DOI:10.1080/15622970902823202 · 4.23 Impact Factor