OBJECTIVE: According to DSM-IV, criterion (A) for diagnosing a hypomanic/manic episode is mood change (ie, elevated, expansive, or irritable mood). Criterion (A) was redefined in DSM-5, adding increased energy or activity in addition to mood change. We sought to investigate the effect of adding increased energy or activity to criterion (A) for the diagnosis of hypomania/mania and, thus, bipolar disorder.
METHODS: This analysis of prospectively collected data from the Bipolar Collaborative Network (1995-2002) includes 907 DSM-IV-TR-diagnosed bipolar outpatients (14,306 visits). The Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) was administered monthly and used to define DSM-IV and DSM-5 criterion (A) fulfillment during a hypomanic/manic visit.
RESULTS: Patients were adults (median age = 40; IQR, 33-49), and over half (56%) were women. Median number of contributed visits was 10 (IQR, 4-23). Applying DSM-5 criterion (A) reduced the number of patients experiencing a hypomanic/manic visit by 34%, compared to DSM-IV. Visits fulfilling DSM-5 criterion (A) had higher odds of experiencing elevated levels of all other mania symptoms, compared to fulfilling DSM-IV criterion (A) only. Association between individual symptoms was strongest with mood elevation and energy or activity (OR [95% CL] = 8.65, [7.91, 9.47]).
CONCLUSIONS: The 34% reduction in the number of patients being diagnosed with a hypomanic/manic visit shows that the impact of applying DSM-5 criterion (A) is substantial. Fewer hypomanic/manic episodes may be diagnosed by the stricter DSM-5 criterion (A), but the episodes diagnosed are likely to be more severe. The DSM-5 criteria may in general prevent overdiagnosis of bipolar disorder but possibly at the cost of underdiagnosing hypomanic/manic episodes.