Most everyone who has a computer and was diagnosed with a mental illness has stumbled upon the DSM – Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – or snippets from it during research about their illness.  Used by clinicians and psychiatrists to diagnose psychiatric illnesses, The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and covers all categories of mental health disorders for both adults and children.  The DSM-IV was originally published in 1994 and listed more than 250 mental disorders. An updated version, called the DSM-IV TR, was published in 2000 and contains minor text revision in the descriptions of each disorder.

While researching my diagnosis of Bipolar II, I came across another interesting site,

Publication of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013 will mark one the most anticipated events in the mental health field. As part of the development process, the preliminary draft revisions to the current diagnostic criteria for psychiatric diagnoses are now available for public review.

As any hypomanic researcher would, I immediately found the DSM 5 section for proposed revisions for mood disorders and clicked into the Bipolar sections.  Then, because I was so hypomanic I refused to take my sleep med (and others) on time, I compared what the DSM IV-TR versus the proposed DSM V has to say on the categorizations of bipolar.

Excerpt from

Draft Criteria for Bipolar II Disorder

A. Presence (or history) of one or more Major Depressive Episodes (see Criteria for Major Depressive Episode).

B. Presence (or history) of at least one Hypomanic Episode (see Criteria for Hypomanic Episode).

C. There has never been a Manic Episode (see Criteria for Manic Episode).

D. The mood symptoms in Criteria A and B are not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder and are not superimposed on Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

E. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Specify current or most recent episode:

Hypomanic: if currently (or most recently) in a Hypomanic Episode (see Criteria for Hypomanic Episode)

Depressed: if currently (or most recently) in a Major Depressive Episode (see Criteria for Major Depressive Episode)

Specifiers and/or current features have not yet been reviewed by the Workgroup for bipolar disorder. It is anticipated that specifiers and/or features that apply across the mood disorders will be consistent across major depression and bipolar disorder. The bipolar specific rapid cycling specifier is under review to consider whether to keep as is, eliminate, or modify.

It’s somewhat of a relief to see the Letter E criteria spelled out so plainly.  I am severely impaired during the height of my hypomania as well as during the depth of crippling depression.  I can’t recall whether I was speaking to someone directly or reading antiquated bipolar material, but the source cited Bipolar II as ‘Bipolar Lite.’   Pishaw.  Any BP II sufferer will tell you it’s downright debilitating to be at any end of the bipolar spectrum, and when we’re in the middle we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Anyway, more on the DSM V later.  I’ve been working on this post for a while and wanted to possibly get some conversation started.