A mixed episode is a discrete period during which a person experiences nearly daily fluctuations in mood that qualify for diagnoses of manic episode and major depressive episode. Over the course of at least one week, the mood of a person experiencing a mixed episode will rapidly change between abnormal happiness or euphoria and sadness or irritability.
To qualify for a diagnosis of mixed episode, symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with an individual's ability to carry out daily routines at work or home, or to require hospitalization. Males may be more susceptible to this condition than females. Young people and those more than 60 years of age with bipolar disorder may be more prone to mixed episodes than others. A manic episode or a major depressive episode is more likely to turn into a mixed episode than vice versa. Manic episodes can also appear in an individual who does not suffer from these or other disturbances. If the episode can be attributed to side effects related to any medical treatment, medical condition, medication, or drugs of abuse, it is not classified as a mixed episode.
Dean A. Haycock, Ph.D.