What is the difference between Bipolar 1 and 2? If you are only learning about this disease right now, there are two major types of bipolar disorder. Each type of the disorder, bipolar I and bipolar II, have their own separate and distinct diagnoses.
The main difference between Bipolar 1 and 2 is that a person with Bipolar II has hypomanic episode as opposed to the manic episodes experienced in Bipolar 1. Mania is much more severe than hypomania. A mania episode is taking place when a person is experiencing an abnormally different heightened mood change. This means that the person will be uncontrollably happy, even during inappropriate times. For example, a person with bipolar 1 may laugh hysterically at a funeral during an episode of mania and have no idea why their behavior is inappropriate.
Hypomania is much less drastic than mania. Someone who is diagnosed with bipolar II disorder will experience a few episodes of hypomania per year. In this case, the person suffering from the mental illness will have a noticeably different heightened mood as opposed to abnormally different. They may be extra happy, need much less sleep, spend much more money, or speak much faster than they would at their baseline personality.
But, there is more than just one difference between Bipolar 1 and 2. There are many differences between the types of bipolar actually. Delusions or hallucinations are experienced during mania episodes, while hypomanic episodes do not cause such issues. A person experiencing hypomania will still be able to operate functionally from day to day, but someone within an episode of mania will notice their livings becoming increasingly impaired. Often times, hospitalization is required during mania because of the severity of the symptoms.
Now you should have a better picture as to why Bipolar I disorder was originally called “manic depression.” In that version of the mental illness, the patient experiences both manic episodes and episodes of severe depression in between their baseline personalities. People experiencing bipolar II will have episodes of hypomania and depression.
It is extremely important that a person experiencing these symptoms seek treatment, regardless of the type of bipolar disorder. The difference between bipolar 1 and 2 means little in regards to how much treatment is needed. People suffering from this disorder will most likely be prescribed a mix of mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, antidepressants, and cognitive behavioral therapies. It may take a bit of time for the doctors to find the right mixture of treatments to stabilize your particular symptoms. This what will require a bit of patience. Rest assured, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
People with bipolar disorder can live long, healthy, functional lives once they are on medication. Despite the lack of a cure for the mental illness, there are plenty of treatments to reduce the amount and severity of episodes that are experienced each year. Now that you know the difference between bipolar 1 and 2, you will be better equipped for what lies ahead.