Bipolar disorders, including bipolar I disorder (BP-I) and bipolar II disorder (BP-II), are common, potentially disabling, and, in some cases, life-threatening conditions. Bipolar disorders are characterized by alternating episodes of mania or hypomania and depression, or mixtures of manic and depressive features. Bipolar disorders present many diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for busy clinicians. Adequate management of bipolar disorders requires pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions targeted to the specific phases of illness. Effective treatments are available for each illness phase, but mood episode relapses and incomplete responses to treatment are common, especially for the depressive phase. Mood symptoms, psychosocial functioning, and suicide risk must, therefore, be continually reevaluated, and, when necessary, the plan of care must be adjusted during long-term treatment. Many patients will require additional treatment of comorbid psychiatric and substance use disorders and management of a variety of commonly co-occurring chronic general medical conditions.
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