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Abstract

Bipolar disorders have a long history. Depression and mania are mankind’s oldest known mental disorders, and they were the first mental disorders conceptualised by Hippocrates as a part of medicine. Mania and depression as part of one and the same disease—what we today call bipolar disorder—was first described by the famous Greek physician of the first century AD, Aretaeus of Cappadocia.

The next decisive step in the development of our conceptualisation of bipolar disorders was done by two French psychiatrists, Falret (1851) and Baillarger (1854), who described them as separate entities. At the end of the 19th century, Emil Kraepelin subsumed all kinds of mood disorders—both unipolar and bipolar—under the umbrella of manic-depressive insanity. But there was also strong opposition against the very influential opinions of Kraepelin, especially by the so-called Wernicke-Kleist-Leonhard school (Karl Kleist coined the term ‘bipolar’), which subclassified bipolar disorders into distinct entities. In 1966, Angst and Perris showed that unipolar and bipolar disorders are autonomous. That was also the start of a very rapid development of concepts, research, and general knowledge about bipolar disorders. Subgroups like cyclothymia, hypomania, and mixed states were identified or reidentified. Another innovation was the development of a bipolar spectrum disorder concept. An overlap of bipolar and schizophrenic spectra can be postulated which is certainly genetically determined, and which gives rise to states like bipolar schizoaffective disorders or acute polymorphic disorders.

Keywords

Bipolar Disorder Schizoaffective Disorder Rapid Cycling Bipolar Spectrum Cyclothymic Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Marneros
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyMartin Luther University Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany

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