ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Updated on January 7, 2011

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.

Cyclothymic Disorder

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.

Do you have Bipolar Disorder?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hendrika profile image


      3 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I have Bipolar and the doctors call it Bipolar 2 but it is more Rapid-Cycling Bipolar. It is interesting to think how many people suffer with this illness. It does not seem as if anything really helps, not for me anyway, I'm on medication, I've had therapy but i still feel horrible and I am not too sure If it is even worth taking the meds! It is killing me financial as my medical aid only pays half of it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Bipolar Disorder is tragically over diagnosed. If you are reading this and think you are bipolar, I would recommend asking your therapist about a similar disorder called borderline personality disorder. The two sometimes go together or are misdiagnosed as the other.

    • Sunnyglitter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Cyberspace

      Amber, how did the psychiatrist go?

      I have Bipolar Disorder, and I beat myself up over things and think about them nonstop as well. One small event can haunt me for days. Major events cause extreme pain and sadness. It's normal if you have Bipolar or Anxiety.

      Have you tried group therapy? That worked better for me than any medication or individual session. If you have good insurance, it will probably be free at your local psychiatric hospital.

      Try not to be scared. I have been where you are, and it will get better. However, it will not get better on it's own. You have to figure out the plan that works best for managing your Bipolar and Anxiety, whether it's medication, private counseling, group counseling, or all of the above.

      Some advice until you find a medication or other treatment plan that works well for you: watch what you eat. Caffeine can trigger mania, and sugar can do the same thing. I wrote an article called Facts on Bipolar Disorder, and it mentions some foods that will help:

      I'm sorry that you're going through this. I know how scary mental illness can be. I'm glad your husband is supportive. My boyfriend freaks out when I cry, and his mother makes fun of me for it. I have seen texts between her and my boyfriend where she encourages him to take our son and leave me before my son "turns out like" me and my daughter.

    • amber112483 profile image


      7 years ago from florida

      Thursday night I had the worse panic attack I have ever had in my life, I was able to claim down at therapy which got me through the night but yesterday the anxiety got so bad to where I got panic attacks and I called every psychiatrist within a 45 mile radius to see me ASAP. My regular doctor was only able to give me xanax to hold me over. Until I get fully evaluated. I want to get on medicine to make me better but I want to forgive myself for what I did to my husband and I think the guilt is killing more and more. I know, I am lucky since he forgave me but I love him and I am so sorry for him but it is really killing me. I hope these feelings go away. My therapist said she also can’t help me fully until I am medicated. So, I go to the therapist Monday morning then the psychiatrist Monday afternoon my husband is willing to go to the therapist not the psychiatrist. I am just so scared

      Is it normal that I keep racking my brain on everything I have ever done and thinking why the hell would I do that? Which makes my attacks worse? I think it is part of one of my rants when I am having an episode. I remember having one when I was in high school but I don’t remember how I over came it and why I am so weak now. I am really thankful for you. My husband was been wonderful but he doesn’t understand mental health issues.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)