Bipolar 2 or Bipolar II Disorder

///Bipolar 2 or Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar 2 is more common than you may realize.

It is also known as bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II is when the individual experiences hypomanic (but not manic) episodes when “high”, and during their “lows” also experience episodes of depression.

It is also sometimes known – a tad misleadingly in some cases – as “soft bipolar”.

This is because the bipolar symptoms are generally perceived as less severe, especially where the mania or the “highs” associated with the disorder are concerned.

For example, there is no psychosis in Bipolar 2 hypomania.

However, bipolar ii disorder is still a troubling mood disorder and sufferers may be subject to classic bipolar symptoms such as serious and recurring depressions, as well as subtler bipolar symptoms such as confusing periods of irritability, impulsiveness and agitation.

On the other hand, the milder “highs” can be enjoyable and energizing and are less likely to lead to the terrible repercussions of full-blown mania.

It may be variously referred to as Bipolar 2, Bipolar II, or Bipolar Type 2 Disorder.

Importantly, although there may less dangerous mania, bipolar treatments such as medication and “talk therapy” are still required.

Am I Bipolar?

Reminder

Bipolar Type 2 is more common than you may realize.

Many people read about Bipolar 2 in the mass media and self-diagnose, when really they should take a bipolar disorder test with an experienced psychiatrist. Only then will they understand if they truly experience bipolar symptoms and what the appropriate bipolar treatments may be.

What is the difference between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar Type 2? Let’s look at some definitions:

Bipolar 1: Where the individual has experienced episode(s) of mania, with or without a history of depressive disorders.

Bipolar 2: Where the individual has experienced episode(s) of both hypomania and depression (and has never experienced an episode of mania or had psychotic episodes).

This is why Bipolar II disorder is sometimes known as “soft” bipolar. Depression is present, but instead of mania, the person suffers from hypomania – a milder form of mania.

So one way of understanding the differences between hard and soft bipolar, or Type I Bipolar and Type II Bipolar, is to understand the differences between MANIA and HYPOMANIA.

“Mania” is a high mood that is of distinct severity and where the individual is often psychotic in the sense of having delusions and/or hallucinations.

“Hypomania” comes from the Greek and means “less than mania”. It describes a high that is less severe than a manic episode and without any psychotic features such as misinterpretation of events.

Bipolar Disorder I is more severe, and the longer and more serious “highs”, which may involve psychosis, are far more likely to lead to hospitalization.

Bipolar Type I is quite different from the much shorter
and less dramatic highs in Bipolar Type II disorder. Bipolar 2 does NOT
involve any psychotic experiences.

Discover more details on Bipolar II Disorder

Another interesting difference is that while women and men develop Bipolar I Disorder at equal rates, rates for Bipolar Disorder Type II are higher for women. Also, men and women experience Bipolar II in different ways.

When men are effected by it they tend to have roughly equal numbers of hypomanic and depressive episodes.

However for women, depression tends to dominate.

See this University of Maryland article for a good overview of bipolar disorder types.

The milder nature of hypomania makes it a curse as well as a blessing.

Of course it is a great advantage to have the boosted energy, optimism and creativity without the risk of extreme self-destruction and impaired judgment that occurs in full-blown mania.

On the downside, Bipolar Disorder Type II can be much harder to diagnose.

This is a problem as the disorder may worsen overtime, may still lead to negative behaviors and consequences, and carries an equally high risk of suicide.

Bipolar 2 or Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar Type 2 may be up to 3-4 times more common than Bipolar 1, and for reasons not yet understood, it seems to be becoming more prevalent.

At least one expert as gone so far as to suggest hypomania can be an asset.

Psychologist John Gartner believes part of the reason America is so rich an powerful is the presence of so many hypomanic individuals:

“Hypomania, a genetically based form of mild
mania, endows many of us with energy, creativity, enthusiasm, and a propensity for taking risks. America has an extraordinarily high number of hypomanics—grandiose types who leap on every wacky idea that occurs to them, utterly convinced it will change the world. Market bubbles and ill-considered messianic crusades can be the downside. But there is an enormous upside as well, in spectacular entrepreneurial zeal, drive for innovation and material success. Americans may have a lot of crazy ideas, but some of them prove to be brilliant inventions.” – John Gartner, Ph.D, The Hypomanic Edge

KEY TAKEAWAYS?

1. BIPOLAR TYPE 2 HAS ITS OWN DISTINCT BIPOLAR SYMPTOMS.

2. YOU NEED A BIPOLAR DISORDER TEST FROM A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL TO DIAGNOSE BIPOLAR II DISORDER. DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE.

3. BIPOLAR TREATMENTS ARE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FOR BIPOLAR 2 VS BIPOLAR 1.

2017-07-12T13:30:42+00:00 May 15th, 2015|Categories: Bipolar Spectrum Disorder|9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Priscilla February 6, 2017 at 11:21 am - Reply

    the doctor said I suffer from Boredom, how cute! I take medicine for Bipolar depression, which helps.

  2. Amy March 13, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Bipolar condition is over diagnosed in America. There is also a severe stigma with it being largely misunderstood–splashed around in every news headline, TV Murder show and even kiddie Movies. Sad indeed.

    • Anon June 2, 2017 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      Over diagnosed? I think people get confused that Bipolar 2 is more common than you’d think – but it’s a combination of anxiety and depression which thousands are misdiagnosed with. It’s diagnosed because people have it, not for a doctor to throw medication at you.
      Movies and books etc to make us all look extreme, which is why people think it’s over diagnosed because we don’t seem the way media views it.

  3. Mila March 27, 2017 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    My husband and I are about to adopt a baby. We just learn the biological father has bipolar type 2 and the biological mom has bipolar also and was depressed in her teen years for about 3 months. My husband and I are nervous about the baby inheriting this condition. Any comments and suggestions are really appreciated. Thank you.

    • Bipolarshame July 23, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure I can offer great advice, but I know this. My grandmother commited suicide before I was born. I am 21 and was recently diagnosed with Major Depression and Bipolar 2. It’s really difficult. It’s even harder when you don’t have a parent who will at least attempt to understand. I understand your fear. I’m afraid to have children of their own because I don’t want to curse them with my illness. But if that baby does grow up to be bipolar or to suffer from any mental illness, he/she will be way better of with a parent who cares enough to be invested and understand (which you all are clearly doing)

  4. LOUISE BARNES April 18, 2017 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    IT IS ALSO BEING UNDIAGNOISED IN THE UK AS MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER AND TREATED WITH ANTIDEPRESSANTS ONLY WHICH MAKE THE BIPOLOR2 ILLNESS WORSE. IT IS HARD TO GET A CORRECT DIAGNOSIS EVEN AFTER MANY CONSULTANTS HAVE SEEN ME WHICH IS SO FRUSTRATING WHEN I KNOW MY OWN BOFY AND MIND BETTER THAN ANY STRANGER. MOOD STABILIZERS EG LACTIMAL IF IT WORKS NEED TO BE IVEN THE CHANCE TO WORK RATHER THAN JUST LEAVE SOMEONE TO SUFFER WITH BED RIDDEN DEPRESSION FOR THE LAST 7 MONTHS WITH NO CHANGE ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO KILL MYSELF I HAVE A SON WHO I LOVE AND MY ANIMALS, BUT NO HELP HERE MAKES YOU WONDER HOW LONG YOU CAN GO ON

  5. A.RAMEREDDY July 17, 2017 at 12:57 am - Reply

    When the patient is not taking perfect dite then he suffered with hipomania and depression because the brain crushes like a leaking gas of balloon when the depression mood he would like to give even his and of the life’s more than his organic saving

  6. Mia July 20, 2017 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    My brother has been living with Bipolar I for almost 12 yrs now. He was just admitted for a psychotic manic episode (he stopped taking his meds). Since I was 17 yrs old I’ve always questioned whether or not I was bipolar but I’ve never had “manic” episodes. To me mania is how I think everyone else is with their energy. When I want to be outside, cleaning the house, able to create new things at work, etc. It’s like I’m high on adderall but for an extended period of time. When I’m manic everyone doesn’t see that I’m manic. They see that I’m able to get things done. Except for ex husband who over time understood more about the disease and my ups and downs. Depression is a fight daily. Sometimes I don’t even know that I’m depressed. I’ve been in a depressive stage for almost 7 months now due to some traumatic events that occurred. Therapy helps. I see a play therapist and I can’t imagine life without her. I’m going to go see a bodytalk therapist soon to see if she can help get me back in balance. My son is Bipolar I and has been since he was 2.5 yrs old. His diagnosis came at age 4. With vitamin and play therapy he has been able to learn how to manage his diagnosis. I’ve never been officially diagnosed as Bipolar just Anxiety and Depression but as I’m writing this I can’t help to wonder if I’m not Bipolar II. If that is the case then my medications are all wrong for me. I always get this way and in this way of thinking when the rubber meets the road. The mind is a power tricky tool. I’m ready to be done with this depression. It is exhausting.

  7. sdd July 21, 2017 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    I am tired of suffering Type !! Bipolar Disorder. I just want to give up. My son keeps me going. He’s the only thing I live for.

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