I don't think affective disorders
themselves are type related, but I think they present some specific issues to typing.
A list of some affective disorders
- Bipolar I (manic episodes and depressive episodes with normal mood in between)
- Bipolar II (hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes, notable chance of rapid-cycling, "normal" mood may intervene in between episodes, but may also be rare)
- Cyclothymia (chronic hypomania and mild-moderate depression, normal mood mostly absent)
- Dysthymia (chronic mild-moderate depression, normal mood mostly absent)
- Unipolar depression (depressive episodes with normal mood in between)
I touch on issues related to mania/hypomania and depression, as well as issues specific to dysthymia/cyclothymia and bipolar II with rapid cycling. At this time I won't touch the issue of mixed episodes.
Manic episodes (and to a lesser extent, hypomanic episodes) are typically a marked deviation from the "normal" personality which is generally obvious to people who have known them for some period of time. Unless they suffer from chronic hypomania (chronic mania seems to be either less likely or less documented), friends and family are likely to describe the manic person as "not themselves", and they may even be afraid as a result.
The manic person will likely believe that they are their usual selves or at least "high-functioning" versions of their normal selves, as mania is characterised by a lack of insight into their condition (compared with depression, which is characterised by enhanced insight). Manic people might also be unable to recall times when they were not manic. These factors, often coupled with grandiosity, can easily skew the results of interviews and self-report questionnaires.
Mania and hypomania can feature symptoms that may seem to overlap with particular socionic types, for example:
- High extroversion and initiative-taking (socionic introverts may even appear as socionic extroverts)
- Increased gregariousness and social confidence (might be interpreted as socionic extrovervion, or an ExFx type)
- Lack of attention to physical needs, for example sleep and nutrition (socionic sensors may appear intuitive, and especially Si-PoLR)
- Very high, sustained energy (appearance of EJ temperament)
- Increased talkativeness (some socionic types are typically more talkative than others, esp. ESE, LIE)
It is entirely fair and blameless if you were to mistype someone, even quite drastically, while typing them during a manic or hypomanic episode.
If the person you are typing is known to have an affective disorder that includes mania or hypomania (bipolar disorder and cyclothymia), I'd recommend caution. I wouldn't discount their self-reports, but I would be sure to consider the observations of their friends and family if possible, and especially reassess the typing over a period of time. Ignore questions of temperament altogether.
Depression obscures the personality far less than mania, though it may obscure socionic temperament to some extent (due to depression's marked effect on energy levels) and I would recommend against any emphasis on temperament if you know someone to be depressed. Aside from the temperament issue, mildly to moderately depressed people are likely to be recognisable as simply depressed or tired versions of their sociotype.
The self-reports of depressed people are going to be much more reliable than those of hypomania because insight remains intact and can even be enhanced. There is still a possibility that it may be skewed because depressed people frequently have difficulty recalling periods when they were not depressed, but knowing their "normal" mood might not be totally essential for typing in all cases. Like manic people, they are not totally "themselves", but they are generally recognisable.
Severe depression is something of a different issue. Depending on precisely how severe it is, the depressed person may still be recognisable as a socionic type. Catatonic and near-catatonic people are probably not typeable.
In general I think that less caution is needed than in the case of mania, but I would still seek out the observations of their friends and family members, and reassess the typing over time (their type will
be clearer when they're not depressed, or at least not as
depressed). I would also ignore questions of temperament altogether.
If a person suffers from atypical
depression (common especially in bipolar disorder), where it is possible to cheer them up for short periods of time, after which they return to feeling depressed, the stimulus that manages to cheer them up may provide insight into their sociotype.
Dysthymia and Cyclothymia
The lack of normal mood in these disorders may be problematic, but their relative stability as affective disorders
makes them somewhat easier than their more severe counterparts.
It is probably relatively safe to type dysthymics and cyclothymics while they are moderately depressed, as it should be fairly close to their "normal" personality.
Due to the chronic nature of the conditions, not recalling other states of mind is not really problematic because they are, by definition, in that state of mind most of the time. As long as they're not hypomanic, their self-reports should be generally reliable and will likely closely match the observations of their friends and family, so your thoroughness should not be quite so essential in these cases.
A common issue in bipolar II is rapid cycling, where the sufferer has multiple mood episodes per year. It can range from having as few as 4 discrete episodes per year, perhaps with normal mood in between, to what may look like a more "severe" form of cyclothymia (with moderate-severe depression instead of mild depression) where normal mood is absent or rare and the sufferer switches straight from one mood to another, to moods that change from depressed to hypomanic and vice versa several times a week or even within a day.
Rapid-cycling can obscure one's sociotype independently of the mood itself. I would advise the following rules of thumb:
- First of all, remove a person's "reliability" (as in, the character trait) and emotional stability and socionic temperament from the type equation, unless they have unambiguously "normal" (non-depressed, non-hypomanic) moods.
- If the rapid-cycling takes place over the course of the YEAR: place more emphasis on periods of depression (and on "normal" moods, if present).
- If the rapid-cyclings takes place over the course of a WEEK or DAY: in my experience the sociotype actually shines through quite clearly, but it is even more imperative that you disregard their emotional stability and questions of temperament when typing them.