If you have found yourself on this site, it is very likely that you are searching for information about Bipolar II disorder. The aim of this website is to provide useful information on the disorder so that you do not need to spend precious time digging through tons of websites only to come up empty handed.
We know a potential or confirmed diagnosis of Bipolar 2 disorder can be very scary and confusing. Whether it is you that is suffering from the mental illness, or it’s someone you know, our goal is to help you as much as possible.
Please take your time to browse this website for information regarding the symptoms, causes, and treatment of Bipolar II disorder.
What is Bipolar II?
Bipolar II disorder is a type of mental illness that affects the mood of a person. It is similar to Bipolar I, except that the more manic part of the illness will never reach a full mania. Instead, people living in this capacity will reach a mental state called “hypomania.”
People who are experiencing a hypomanic episode often exhibit certain symptoms that include a better than average mood, very fast speech, no interest or need for rest, difficulty focusing, constant energy, and extreme over confidence. The diagnosis requires that the person suffering from the mental illness have had at least one episode of hypomania in their lifetime. However, it is likely that they are quite used to these episodes and may think they are a normal part of life.
Severe depression is other phase of the disorder that someone will experience. During an episode of depression, one may experience sadness for most or all of the day, very low energy or fatigue, loss of interest in activities that were formerly very interesting, a pessimistic attitude, inability to concentrate, irritability, worthlessness, difficulty sleeping or too much sleep, significant fluctuations in weight, and thoughts of suicide or death. These experiences can be extremely vivid and intense.
When someone is between a depression and hypomania, they are most likely leading a very normal lifestyle.
Bipolar II Symptoms
- Hypomanic Episodes
- Depressive Episodes
There is little or inconclusive evidence pointing to the causes of the disorder, very much like other complex illnesses such as schizophrenia. Whatever studies that have been conducted did not separate the different types of the disorder, and as such, the results were inconclusive. It is thought that a cause could be diminished size of the prefrontal and temporal areas of the brain in combination with high blood concentrations of calcium. This, to date, has not been proven.
A strong case has been made for the genetic passing of the disease. It is likely that you may be predisposed to the mental illness if you have a history of the disease in your family.
Bipolar II Treatment
Treatment for people living with Bipolar II is almost always in the form of some type of medication. People who suffer from the disorder will need medication will level out their moods over the long term. This will effectively prevent any episode of hypomania or depression that could possibly seriously affect the life or well being of the patient.
Mood stabilizers such as Lithium, Depakote, and Lamictal are the most commonly prescribed drug. Those who experience severe hypomanic episodes may be prescribed an Antipsychotic or Benzodiapine medication. Antidepressants like Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac are the most common medications prescribed to counteract the effects of the severe depressions that those with Bipolar II disorder often experience.
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can often help prevent the extreme episodes that are associated with the mental illness. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy is a type of treatment in which the patient will regularly speak to a psychologist about their feelings and emotions. The psychologist will use a goal orientated procedure to help process any negative emotions.
Bipolar II Prognosis
It is thought that the disorder will have a course of illness that is significantly more chronic than that of its counterpart. This means that left untreated, there is an increased risk of compounding hypomania or depression and suicide. An untreated patient of Bipolar 2 will end up having a very low quality of life, mainly due to increasingly constant depressive states. Because the patient cannot help themselves on their own, they end up suffering and entering into even deeper depressions as time goes on.
The best option for maintained healthy prognosis is a combination of long term therapy and medication. This will serve to control the symptoms of the disorder and prevent possible relapses. Once treated, those who have been diagnosed with the mental illness will reduce both their risk of suicide and the frequency of their hypomanic or depressive episodes. They will be able to lead a successful stable life if they maintain their treatment. Therapy sessions can be expected to continue indefinitely, while medication could possibly be ceased based on the recommendation of the psychologist or physician.