No bipolar is psychiatric. Its not a form of epilepsy. But since bipolar involves overactivity in the limbic system (the part of the brain that controls emotion) certain anti-convulsants (though not all) will lower the abnormal level of electrical activity there just like they lower the general level of electrical activity in seizures. I started on an anti-convulsant used off label for my physical disability that is brand new and I was not very surprised that it stopped both the dysphoric mania that is neurological in origin and standard rapid cycling (which I didn't realize was going on but should have, staying up until 3 AM. is a good clue). I won't post the name of it because it hasn't been clinically identified as a mood stabilizer yet (although its an FDA approved medication) but I'm sure when I speak to my psychopharmocologist he won't be very surprised and I wasn't either. In bipolar one can tell people are speeded up and not just mentally because they move rapidly at times of mania, eat more and have a higher libido. I'm sure there are clinical findings on the exact science of it but to be honest they are just figuring this out themselves but are learning more. Good question though but bipolar is definitely psychiatric.
Bipolar Disorder is definitely a psychiatric problem. It can become so bad it can cause psychosis in some instances and/or put people in the psychiatric ward.
OK- this is four years later, but if you get this: *how do you know?*
WE define these things based on current understanding. (Epilepsy used to be categorised as psychiatric, for example).
So- what IS the difference between a neurological condition with psychiatric symptoms (like Huntingtons, or Parkinsons, or Alstzeimers, or stroke.....) and a "psychiatric" condition with neurological symptoms? Bipolar sufferers commonly have neural degeneration which is visible to the naked eye on MRI. Untreated schizophrenia decimates brain tissue. You CANNOT tell me that's not neurological!
There's a reasonable cohort of researchers looking at exactly that link- between bipolar, epilepsy (and migraine, as it happens).
The whole mind/body boundary just is not as black and white as we like to think, and I'm betting we see the day when "mental" illness loses it's meaning, for the most part.
Our "mental" life takes place in our body (and vice versa eg stress profoundly affects physiology). There's no "mental", by itself.
I thought it was a GREAT question- and a logical question. Inspired, even:) See my reply to ILADVOCATE.
I'm with you- think you're on the right track.
And if you do a Google scholar search- or even just a normal Google search, you will find discussion and research on exactly that. Have fun:)