View Full Version : Bipolar I vs Bipolar II - info, please

06-25-07, 06:58 PM
Can someone direct me to where I can learn more about the differences (and similarities) between Bipolar I and Bipolar II?

My husband has been diagnosed with "Bipolar disorder", but no mention of I or II or anything. But many people here list the specific one they have, and speak as though the difference were important.

Is the difference important? If so, for what? Does having one or the other lead you to specific medications or therapies or expectations, that would be different if you had the other?

I don't see my husband's diagnosis doc again until September, so thought here was a good place to start with my research until I can speak with the doc about it.

Thanks in advance!

06-25-07, 07:07 PM

What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

"Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.

Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:

Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood
Extreme irritability
Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
Distractibility, can't concentrate well
Little sleep needed
Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
Poor judgment
Spending sprees
A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
Increased sexual drive
Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
Denial that anything is wrong
A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.

Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:

Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being "slowed down"
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Restlessness or irritability
Sleeping too much, or can't sleep
Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.

A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.

Sometimes, severe episodes of mania or depression include symptoms of psychosis (or psychotic symptoms). Common psychotic symptoms are hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of things not actually there) and delusions (false, strongly held beliefs not influenced by logical reasoning or explained by a person's usual cultural concepts). Psychotic symptoms in bipolar disorder tend to reflect the extreme mood state at the time. For example, delusions of grandiosity, such as believing one is the President or has special powers or wealth, may occur during mania; delusions of guilt or worthlessness, such as believing that one is ruined and penniless or has committed some terrible crime, may appear during depression. People with bipolar disorder who have these symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as having schizophrenia, another severe mental illness.

It may be helpful to think of the various mood states in bipolar disorder as a spectrum or continuous range. At one end is severe depression, above which is moderate depression and then mild low mood, which many people call "the blues" when it is short-lived but is termed "dysthymia" when it is chronic. Then there is normal or balanced mood, above which comes hypomania (mild to moderate mania), and then severe mania."

Matt S.
06-25-07, 08:11 PM
I have the more severe type of bipolar myself...

07-02-07, 06:19 PM
Crazy~Feet, thanks! That only had a couple sentences about the difference, but it was exactly right for me to understand.

mspen, if you don't mind my asking, which do you consider to be the "more severe" type? To me they just seemed "different" rather than one being further along a scale of severity.

Matt S.
07-10-07, 07:21 PM
well, I guess that is subjective, I know bipolar II's who cycle every 2 hours and I cant imagine that but in severity I meant in respect to being a bipolar I who usually is manic with psychotic features in description, the age of onset in my case around 5 from my memory and 8 I believe officially makes it worse to treat