Bipolar III




Generally speaking there is no great consensus on what constitutes a Bipolar III diagnosis but it is often the case that an individual with a strong family history of the disorder is give some kind of medication, usually an antidepressant or steroidal agent that then spikes a manic or hypomanic episode. Some psychiatrists think that the smaller the dosage of a given drug that does spike such an episode then the more likely the person may be bipolar. Below are just some of the descriptions of this classification, but keep in mind that this information may change and is subject to interpretation.


While the DSM-IV does not include subtypes III, IV, V, and VI, it does include a diagnosis called Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This diagnostic category would include:

  1. Very rapid alternation (over days) between manic symptoms and depressive symptoms that do not meet minimal duration criteria for a Manic Episode or a Major Depressive Episode.
  2. Recurrent Hypomanic Episodes without intercurrent depressive symptoms.
  3. A Manic or Mixed Episode superimposed on Delusional Disorder, residual Schizophrenia, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
  4. Situations in which the clinician has concluded that a Bipolar Disorder is present but is unable to determine whether it is primary, due to a general medical condition, or substance induced.  

Manic-depression is the common term for bipolar affective disorder. The standard classification was given by Gerald Klerman, MD, who identified six forms of bipolar disorder (Psychiatric Annals 17: Jan. 1987).

  • Bipolar I: Mania and depression.
  • Bipolar II: Hypomania and depression.
  • Bipolar III: Cyclothymic disorders.
  • Bipolar IV: Hypomania or mania precipitated by antidepressant drugs.
  • Bipolar V: Depressed patients with bipolar relatives.
  • Bipolar VI: Mania without depression.

Bipolar 1 | Bipolar II | Bipolar III | Cyclothymic Disorder | General Information Links