When diagnosing bipolar disorder there are two main types of bipolar that medical professionals refer to.
They are known as bipolar I and bipolar II but you may also see them referred to as:
- bipolar 1, bipolar i, bipolar type 1, or bipolar i disorder
- bipolar 2, bipolar ii, bipolar type 2, or bipolar ii disorder.
If you are interested in what bipolar disorder is, some common symptoms, and what the differences are between the two main types of bipolar they can be differentiated as follows:
Bipolar Type 1 (I)
Bipolar I, indicates that a person experiences mania, the more marked form of mood elevation. Mania in bipolar I disorder is a period of elevated mood or a “high” mood swing that lasts for at least a week. During an episode of mania, a person becomes very self confident, needs less sleep, and pursues goals and projects or may become totally preoccupied with activities that they find pleasurable.
Energy and drive is increased. This can be expressed by spending sprees, overt self-confidence, sexual indiscretion and increased activity in pleasurable activities. The high mood of mania is also accompanied by racing thoughts and speech.
Manic episodes can also involve irritability or periods of psychosis (a loss of touch with reality). The mood swings of mania can be so severe that hospitalization is required. For Type I bipolar disorder an episode of elevated mood (mania) impacts significantly on life, such that continuing work and maintaining relationships when unwell can become very difficult.
Bipolar Type 2 (II)
Bipolar II also involves episodes of elevated moods, but this mood elevation is of a lesser severity and for a shorter period (around 4 days), than in bipolar I. While these periods are clearly different from what is normal for the person, impairment in behaviour does not occur, in contrast to mania.
Bipolar II characteristically involves periods of depression where the person can lack energy and motivation, feel sadness and perhaps guilt over things that they are not responsible for. There can also be changes to sleep patterns and appetite.
So for those with Bipolar I, depression may or may not be a part of the symptoms experienced but to be diagnosed with Bipolar II a person must also experience episodes of depression.
If you are asking yourself, “Am I bipolar?”, or if you feel that you are experiencing bipolar behaviours then please seek the advice of a doctor.
Author: Sue Lauder