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Ultradian Cycling

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Updated June 19, 2014

Definition:
Ultradian cycling in bipolar disorder is a commonly used term in search of a formal definition. The term "ultradian cycling" does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Some sources equate ultradian cycling with ultra-rapid cycling, which also has no official definition in the DSM-IV but, like ultradian cycling, is recognized in the psychiatric community.

Most psychiatrists use the term ultradian cycling to describe multiple mood swings in a single day.

This definition makes the most sense, in that the word "ultradian" in other contexts means happening multiple times within a day. For example, ultradian is used in reference to the cyclic changes in patterns of normal sleep throughout the night, and the waxing and waning of appetite more than once during a day.

Pronunciation:
ul-TRAY-dee-un

Also Known As:
ultra-ultra rapid cycling
ultradian rapid cycling
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