Bipolar disorders are among the so-called phasic disorders, accompanied by depressive episodes and manic episodes. This is to say that most persons afflicted now and again have disorder phases between these however can live relatively “normally”. However, around one third of all persons afflicted stated that they are also impaired between the individual episodes (e.g. through instability of mood, permanently depressed or euphorically irascible mood, concentration disorders etc.).
One assumes on average a duration of episode of around two months for manic and two to five months for depressive episodes. The individual differences are however daunting, partly these continue only days in other cases years! In the course of the disorder, one can, seen in terms of time, distinguish between different phases:
Before the disorder breaks out completely, general changes in the mood and behaviour exist (see “First Signs of a Bipolar Disorder”). Depressive episodes are commenced mostly over weeks or months, manic episodes mostly within a few days or weeks.
Here, the complete onset of the disorder occurs with and without the existence of psychotic symptoms. Part of the disorder is that you possibly have diffculties to understand that you are ill. This is above all clearly manifest in manic episodes.
After the disappearance of acute symptoms and a stabilization of the state, slight depressive or slight manic symptoms can continue to exist over a variously long period. This phase can last many years; sometimes also with relapses back into the acute phase.