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What Are The Different Types Of Bipolar Disorder

Updated on October 7, 2016
Bipolar brain VS a normal brain
Bipolar brain VS a normal brain | Source
Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder | Source

In the United states almost six million people suffer from bipolar disorder, that’s almost 2.5 % of our population. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental condition for which there is no cure. However with a mixture of medications and therapy a bipolar individual can go on to lead a healthy, normal life.

The two main types of bipolar are bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. They both share the same basic characteristics. Individuals suffering with either of these forms of bipolar experience periods of extreme lows and highs, and are helpless to control it. So, what’s the difference between the two?

Symptoms Of Bipolar 1
Symptoms Of Bipolar 1

Bipolar 1

A patient suffering with bipolar 1 experiences severe mood swings. They switch back and forth between extreme depression and mania. Mania causes erratic moods and actions that are abnormal for any normal person. For example, a person experiencing mania may laugh uncontrollably upon hearing news of an accident or death. The mood of a bipolar individual experiencing mania almost never matches the situations going on around them. Bipolar disorder effects each sufferer different. One sufferer may be in a state of mania one day and struck down with severe depression the next. Other's moods can change in the space of 5 minutes. Another bipolar patient's mood, whether mania or depression, may last weeks, months, or even years. Those whose moods are constantly changing at a fast rate are said to have rapid cycling bipolar.

Mania can also cause psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, this causes the patient to lose touch with reality. This is found in the most severe cases of bipolar. People experiencing this can hear voices, see things, and start believing in things that a healthy person would know couldn't be true. When bipolar gets this severe it can be mistaken for Schizophrenia. Contrary to popular belief the two disorders do have a lot in common. Patients with this extreme level of mania find it hard to live a normal life. They often have trouble holding onto jobs and have few, if any, friends. They learn not to trust themselves or their own reactions and often shut themselves off from the rest of the world. This is their way of coping with their illness.

Mania can also cause extreme anger and irritability, this can lead to violence. This is where bipolar gets it's bad rap. A person's emotions with bipolar disorder are much more intense than an average person's emotions, to the point that they can't see past them. They have trouble controlling their own actions. For this reason, people suffering from bipolar 1 usually end up in the hospital at some point. Their mania can get out of control and they may fear for their safety or the safety of those around them. This does not make the person suffering with this disorder a bad person, they simply lose control of themselves.

Symtoms Of Mania - Bipolar 1

  • Unnaturally high self-esteem
  • Grandiose thoughts (thinking you are ‘special’, gifted, overly important, have special powers)
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Becoming more talkative, talking faster than usual
  • Racing thoughts that can’t be stopped
  • Short attention span
  • Extreme productivity
  • Sexual appetite increase
  • Spending money foolishly
  • Engaging in dangerous activities (drugs, unprotected sex, etc)
  • Very spontaneous attitude, jumping into things without thinking logically
  • Overly happy
  • Aggression, picking fights with others
  • Irritable attitude
  • Becoming Violent
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoid thoughts

Bipolar 1 And Bipolar 2
Bipolar 1 And Bipolar 2

Bipolar 2

Bipolar 2 is a milder form of bipolar 1. A patient suffering with bipolar 2 also experiences mood swings, switching back and forth between depression and hypomania. Hypomania is a less extreme form of mania. Hypomania causes actions that are abnormal for that particular person. Such as, a person who is normally shy becoming extremely social and talkative, whereas mania causes changes that would be abnormal for any one. The second main difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 is that there are no psychotic episodes present in bipolar 2. Usually a person experiencing hypomania is able to continue on with their day to day activities. A person experiencing mania may not be able to function in society in a healthy way, until they come down from the mania. Hypomania isn't usually extreme enough to cause violent actions, the person remains in touch with reality and knows what is going on. However, this is not to say that Bipolar 2 is not a serious condition. People with Bipolar 2 tend to spend more time in the depressive state, and they are more likely to commit suicide than those suffering from bipolar 1.

Symptoms Of Hypomania - Bipolar 2

  • Very high self-esteem
  • Grandiose thoughts
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Becoming more talkative, talking faster than usual
  • Racing thoughts that can’t be stopped
  • Short attention span
  • Extreme productivity
  • Sexual appetite increase
  • Spending money foolishly
  • Engaging in dangerous activities (drugs, unprotected sex, etc)
  • Very spontaneous attitude, jumping into things without thinking logically
  • Overly happy
  • Irritable attitude

Bipolar 1 And Bipolar 2
Bipolar 1 And Bipolar 2

Cyclothymia Disorder

Cyclothymia Disorder is also a mood disorder, although it is considered to be a very mild illness. The symptoms of cyclothymic disorder are like those of bipolar 1 and 2, but much less severe.

Bipolar 1 And Bipolar 2

Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 are both very serious illnesses, and neither of them should be taken lightly. If you feel you may be suffering from one of these disorders it's very important that you seek medical help for yourself. Bipolar will not go away or get better on it's own. In fact, if left untreated, bipolar usually gets worse. A good psychiatrist can change your life for the better, with the help of medications and therapy. If you're not sure how to go about getting help, there are numerous helpline numbers that deal with mental health issues, and they are more than happy to point you in the right direction.


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    • LisaMarie724 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Stover 

      6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Thanks billybuc. I have wrote a few hubs on this subject because I suffer from bipolar 1 myself and feel like most people have no clue what this illness really entails. Most people I come across believe people with bipolar are crazy or it's all in their heads. This is a hard illness to deal with because medications don't always work together right and some medications you are put on make you worse. A lot of my poetry is written during my depressive cycles. Thanks for reading.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I couldn't help but notice you have a few hubs on this subject. I have known several people who suffer from this and I do mean suffer. Trying to find the right meds is a major task....trying to get a proper diagnosis....it seems to be an endless nightmare for many. Thank you for shedding light on this serious disorder.

    • LisaMarie724 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Stover 

      6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Thanks, I checked it out and they have some really great info. on psychosis.

    • mjboomer profile image

      Mike Elzner 

      6 years ago from Oregon

      Great Information....Check this out eastcommunity.org

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