Bipolar Disorder 1 and 2: What’s the Difference?
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by two distinct episodes: mania and depression. Individuals with bipolar disorder shift from extreme joy, excitement, restlessness, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity (mania) to hopelessness, irritability, fatigue, and suicidal thoughts (depression).
There are four types of bipolar disorder:
● Bipolar 1
● Bipolar 2
● Cyclothymic (mild mood disorder)
● Unspecified (no known cause)
Here, we will discuss the two most common types of bipolar disorder, 1 and 2.
Bipolar 1: Mania with or without Depression
In bipolar 1 disorder, the patient experiences a full manic episode. Their energy levels are seemingly infinite, even sleep isn’t necessary for them. They may also do things that are very risky or unusual for them when they are not hyperactive, like engaging in promiscuous activities or splurging on things they can’t afford. It is very apparent when patients with bipolar 1 have a manic episode. Most of them may require hospitalization to control their hyperactivity.
Once the manic episode is over, bipolar 1 patients may or may not experience the depressive part of their disorder.
Bipolar 2: Hypomania with Depression
In bipolar 2 disorder, the patient usually suffers more from the depressive episodes. Their symptoms are often very similar to clinical depression which is why they may be diagnosed incorrectly. They don’t have full manic episodes, only hypomania, which is a milder type. Hyperactivity may not be apparent but there are still expressions of happiness, excitement, and restlessness, although not severe enough to require hospitalization.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Like many mental illnesses, there is no specific cause for bipolar disorder. However, several factors such as genetics, environment, alcohol and drug use, and trauma can all contribute to the development of this illness. Many studies have shown that bipolar disorder runs in families, increasing the risk in every following generation. Patients with bipolar disorder have evident chemical imbalances in the brain which lead to their unusual behaviors.
How to Get Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder
Do you suspect that you or someone close to you has symptoms of bipolar disorder? Only a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist can make an accurate diagnosis of this condition. You may need to undergo several physical tests first to rule out any medical conditions that may be affecting your behaviors.
Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor will provide a treatment plan involving psychotherapy and medication. Living a life with bipolar disorder is manageable as long as you follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medications correctly. The support of your loved ones will also increase your chances of improvement and better quality of life.
Can Bipolar Disorder be Cured?
Unfortunately, bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that needs proper medical intervention. It does not go away completely even with therapy and medication. Patients should understand that maintenance is key to living a close to normal life. The patient should work together with their doctors, family, and friends to achieve a peaceful and meaningful life.