Types Of Bipolar Disorder

2013 Bipolar Update

Recognizing the Different Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are several types of Bipolar disorder and all involve episodes of depression and mania to a greater or lesser degree. These types can be described as follows:

Bipolar I

A person affected by Bipolar 1 disorder has episodes of both depression and mania. In very rare cases they experience only mania. The manic phase can last anywhere between a week and several months and the sufferer may experience delusions. Risky behavior is common during manic episodes and patients often need to be hospitalized for their own safety. This is one reason why one should be familiar with the different types of bipolar

Bipolar II and Hypomania

A person with Bipolar II disorder suffers primarily from episodes of severe depression with an occasional episode of ‘mild’ mania called hypomania. Hypomania differs from mania in that the sufferer does not experience any delusions.

Like mania, hypomania can cause severe disruption to a person’s life, particularly as the episode of hypomania often feels so good that the sufferer may discontinue the medication in a quest to bring on a hypo manic episode. This especially problematic because symptoms returning after medication has been stopped are often much more difficult to control a second time.

Bipolar II disorder is sometimes referred to as a ‘milder’ form of Bipolar disorder than Bipolar I; however, the suicide rate among people suffering from Bipolar II disorder is actually higher than that for those suffering from Bipolar I. As you see all types of bipolar disorder have serious repercussions.

Rapid Cycling

When four or more manic or depressive episodes occur within a year, a person is referred to as having Rapid Cycling Bipolar disorder with some people experiencing multiple episodes within a single day. Rapid Cycling is more likely to develop later in the course of the illness and is seen more commonly in women. Of all the types of bipolar disorder this one is easy recognized since it is more constant.

Mixed Bipolar

A person suffering from Mixed Bipolar disorder experiences both mania and depression at the same time or in rapid sequence. The combination of high energy and low mood means that Mixed Bipolar disorder is the most dangerous for risk of suicide.

Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression)

Cyclothymia is a milder form of Bipolar disorder. Sufferers experience cyclical mood swings which are usually less acute than those with full-blown types of bipolar disorder.

All these types of Bipolar disorders can typically persist throughout a person’s life. Usually most people with Bipolar disorder are free of symptoms in between episodes; however, as many as one third of sufferers may have some residual symptoms and a small percentage of those experience chronic, unremitting symptoms despite ongoing treatment and medication.