Types of Bipolar Disorder
Did you know that there are several different types of Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder is a chronic condition that affects over 5.7 million Americans, or 2.6% of the population. This mental illness is characterized by periods of mania and depression, and is usually treated with a combination of counseling and prescription drugs. Occasionally, other treatments such as ECT and light therapy are used.
Although all types of Bipolar Disorder have highs and lows, the intensity and frequency of which they are experienced varies widely. A brief explanation of the various types of Bipolar Disorder can be found below.
Bipolar 1 Disorder
Bipolar 1 is the most common type of Bipolar Disorder. This diagnosis is given to Bipolar individuals who have experienced at least one severe manic episode, as well as periods of depression.
In addition to being the most common type of Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar 1 is also believed to be the most treatable. The main medications used for Bipolar 1 are stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics.
Bipolar 2 Disorder
Bipolar 2 is the most common type of Bipolar Disorder after Bipolar 1. It is similar to Bipolar 1; however, people with this type of Bipolar have experienced hypomania rather than one severe episode of mania. Hypomania is a milder form of mania.
Bipolar 2 is usually treated with medications or counseling.
Cyclothymia is a mild mood disorder that affects 0.4% to 1% of the U.S. People with cyclothymia experience mild depression and hypomania, as opposed to the severe episodes associated with other types of Bipolar Disorder.
Many patients opt not to be treated with medication for cyclothymia; when they do, mood stabilizers are usually prescribed. Cyclothymia can progress into severe forms of Bipolar Disorder.
Mixed Bipolar Disorder
Mixed Bipolar Disorder is a type of Bipolar that is often difficult for individuals without mood disorders to understand. Mixed Bipolar is characterized by episodes of mania and depression that occur simultaneously; individuals experience happiness and sadness at the same time.
There is a higher risk of suicide for patients with Mixed Bipolar Disorder than patients with other mental illnesses. The main medications used include mood stabilizers and antipyschotics; Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is used when medication is not effective.
Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder
Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder refers to patients diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder who experience 4 or more episodes of mania or depression in a 12 month period. Some patients experience multiple episodes in the same week or day.
Mood stabilizers are often used to treat Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder; antidepressants are usually avoided, as they can cause manic episodes. Patients with Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder are hospitalized more often than patients with other types of Bipolar Disorder.
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