Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified

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Bipolar disorder NOS

Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BD-NOS) is a diagnosis for bipolar disorder (BD) when it does not fall within the other established sub-types. Bipolar disorder NOS is sometimes referred to as subthreshold bipolar disorder.[1]


BD-NOS is a mood disorder and one of four subtypes on the bipolar spectrum, which also includes bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymia.[1] BD-NOS was a classification in the DSM-IV and has since been changed to Bipolar "Other Specified" and "Unspecified" in the 2013 released DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). BD-NOS is a disorder which creates intense mood instability which causes bouts of depression, hypomania, and mania, and occasionally mood stability.


Bipolar disorder is difficult to diagnose.[2] If a person displays some symptoms of bipolar disorder but not others, the clinician may diagnose bipolar NOS. The diagnosis of bipolar NOS is indicated when there is a rapid change (days) between manic and depressive symptoms and can also include recurring episodes of hypomania. Bipolar NOS may be diagnosed when it is difficult to tell whether bipolar is the primary disorder due to another general medical condition, such as a substance use disorder. A diagnosis of this condition can be challenging and is often imprecise.[3][4]


Individual approaches to treatment are recommended, usually involving a combination of mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotics.[5] Psychotherapy may be beneficial and should be started early.[5]


The prevalence of BD-NOS is 1.4%.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "International impact of bipolar disorder highlights need for recognition and better treatment availability". March 7, 2011. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  2. ^ Leboyer M, Kupfer DJ (December 2010). "Bipolar disorder: new perspectives in health care and prevention". J Clin Psychiatry. 71 (12): 1689–95. doi:10.4088/JCP.10m06347yel. PMC 3317891. PMID 21190640.
  3. ^ "Unspecified bipolar disorder: Definition, Symptoms, and Treatment". 2023-05-19. Retrieved 2023-10-26.
  4. ^ Towbin, Kenneth; Axelson, David; Leibenluft, Ellen; Birmaher, Boris (May 2013). "Differentiating Bipolar Disorder–Not Otherwise Specified and Severe Mood Dysregulation". Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 52 (5): 466–481. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2013.02.006. ISSN 0890-8567. PMC 3697010. PMID 23622848.
  5. ^ a b Filaković P, Erić AP, Požgain I (September 2011). "New strategies in the treatment of bipolar disorder" (PDF). Psychiatr Danube. 23 (3): 293–9. PMID 21963700.

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