Bipolar disorder is characterized by a cycling from depression to mania, and back again over time (hence the reason it used to be called manic depression, because it includes both mania and depression). One of the commonly asked questions we get here is, “How long does a typical bipolar episode last?”
The answer has traditionally been, “Well, it varies considerably from person to person. Some may have rapid cycling bipolar disorder where that person can cycle back and forth between depression and mania in the course of a day or multiple times a week. Others may be stuck in one mood or the other for weeks or months at a time.”
New research (Solomon et al., 2010) published in The Archives of General Psychiatry sheds a little more empirical light onto this question.
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