What Is Bipolar II Disorder?

What Is Bipolar II Disorder?Bipolar disorder comes in two forms: bipolar I and bipolar II. To understand bipolar II disorder, people must first understand bipolar disorder, and the differences between bipolar I and bipolar II. This helps people understand what defines each form, and it helps them obtain accurate diagnoses.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition commonly called manic depression. It creates unusual mood swings, energy and activity levels, and it complicates someone’s ability to carry out daily tasks. While the disorder can be difficult to diagnose, it can be managed so that people have relatively happy lives.

Bipolar disorder creates intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called episodes. Heightened energy levels and excited states signify a manic episode, but intense sadness and hopelessness signify a depressive episode. What separates bipolar I disorder from bipolar II is the severity of manic episodes. Individuals with bipolar II only have hypomanic episodes, a less intense form of mania. While the symptoms and behaviors of a hypomanic episode are noticeably different than someone’s normal mood and behavior, it is as severe as full mania. Hypomanic episodes of bipolar II disorder may create the following symptoms:

  • A sustained, elevated mood
  • Grand or superior behavior
  • Irritability
  • Increased energy levels
  • Needing less sleep
  • Spending more money than one should
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Rapid speech patterns and thought

The following other characteristics further separate bipolar I from bipolar II disorder:

  • Hypomanic episodes do not include psychotic symptoms, like delusions or hallucinations, but manic episodes do
  • Hypomanic behavior interferes with daily life to a degree, but manic behavior will interrupt it completely. It may cause problems at work, school and home, in one’s personal life and other relationships. Mania can cause such intense behaviors that people get into legal trouble or have to be hospitalized.

Bipolar II disorder is dominated by depressive episodes rather than mania. While hypomania symptoms are less severe than manic symptoms, hypomanic episodes are still difficult. Because most people with bipolar II disorder are more affected by depressive episodes, these states interfere with daily life more than the manic ones. Depressive episodes of bipolar II disorder include the following problems:

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feelings of hopeless, helplessness and despair
  • Sadness, uncontrollable and unexplainable crying
  • Severe fatigue
  • Recurring thoughts of suicide

If you believe you have either version of bipolar disorder, seek a medical diagnosis as quickly as possible.

Treatment for Bipolar II Disorder

To find out more about treatment options for bipolar II disorder, call our toll-free helpline. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and connect you to the top-rated mental health treatment services. If you need diagnostic help or have questions about cost and insurance coverage, call us and speak with a recovery professional today.