Bipolar Affective Disorder?
Are there varying degrees of severity with this disorder? In that the symptoms experienced can be mild in some people but severe in others? Also, do all cases require medication?
there are bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. 2 is less severe. folks who have 2 get what is called hypomanic. they have a lot of energy, but don't get to the extreme of mania. both types get depressed. i wouldn't want to live with depression without meds.
I was diagnosed in my teens with bipolar disorder. I used several different medicines and, did not like taking any of them. I have not used medication in 15 years. I exercise and keep to a strict daily schedule. I would say not all forms of bipolar disorder require medication. At least not in my case. There are times when I do start to get depressed. You have to know the disease and be cognizant of what it can do. I have found that exercise and a good diet has worked better for me than any of they medication I have been prescribed.
As cathylynn says, there are two typed of Bipolar disorder, Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 - Bipolar 1 being more severe in terms of symptoms, and almost always requiring medication - It can easily cross into schizophrenia and medication can help to slow/stop that progression. Bipolar 2 is less severe. It also almost always requires medication, BUT only cyclically. A person with Bipolar 2 may be able to live quite successfully without medication for years at a time.
Another very similar disorder is called cyclothymia. I can only describe it as a kind of "baby bipolar." Similar emotional ups and downs but not nearly as severe or noticeable as actual Bipolar Disorder. It can often be managed through talk therapy, and rarely requires medication.
Cyclothymia - I've done some additional research after the introduction here and wanted to thank everyone - very, very useful information.
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