Rapid cycling is called a course specifier. It’s not a separate diagnosis, instead It used to describe the course of the illness. The rapid cycling specifier is added if you have 4 or more episodes of either depression, mania or hypomania in a year. If this is the case, your diagnosis would be bipolar 1 or 2, with rapid cycling.
People usually will say ultra rapid cycling when a person has mood switches each month and ultra, ultra rapid cycling, also called ultradian when a person has mood cycles lasting a day. The use of ultradian is controversial because according to the DSM-V, the least amount of time you can have mood symptoms is 4 days for hypomania. Therefore, changing mood symptoms daily wouldn’t be considered a bipolar illness according to the DSM. We would call this mood lability and you can see this mood instability with other disorders like borderline personality disorder and PTSD.
In this video I discuss possible causes of rapid cycling and ways to approach minimizing the cycling.
Borderline personality vs bipolar disorder video: https://youtu.be/MLl4b9726wA
Mania definition: https://youtu.be/ydLWlAqCpLA
Disclaimer: All of the information on this channel is for educational purposes and not intended to be specific/personal medical advice from me to you. Watching the videos or getting answers to comments/question, does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you have your own doctor, perhaps these videos can help prepare you for your discussion with your doctor.
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