3 Types Of Bipolar And What They Mean


There are three main types of Bipolar disorder: one, two and Cyclothymic Disorder. These three classifications come from the DSM diagnostic criteria. The main difference between these disorders is the severity of manic episodes. Additionally, bipolar disorder can improve with age and consequently it can become worse. It all depends on a mixture of brain chemistry, genetics and family history.

Bipolar disorder can affect anyone, it shows no discrimination. It does not care about race, ethnicity, religiousness or sexual orientation, it is an equal opportunity disorder. However, it does have a genetic component to it and as a result, it tends to run in families. When seeking a psychologist and psychiatrist make sure that you truly enjoy your health care providers. Having a mental health professional that you feel comfortable with makes life easier when you can speak openly and honestly in your sessions.

Bipolar One

Bipolar one is more severe than Bipolar two because it has three components. It requires mixed periods of manic episodes, hypomanic episodes as well as major depressive episodes. This means that the person who has type one will “fly high” for a period of time before slipping into a period of depression.

Manic episodes must last for at least a week or are marked by an episode that demands hospitalization. Depressive episodes must last at least two weeks and can sometimes be mixed with manic symptoms. Many people that have type one bipolar refuse treatment because the positives of their manic episodes outweigh their depressive episodes. What I mean is that the manic episodes feel so wonderful and come with “positive” symptoms such as increased energy, elevated mood and decreased need for sleep. These “beneficial symptoms” make it hard to seek treatment when they feel like they can conquer the world. However, without proper medication, the symptoms of type one bipolar can become dangerous to the individual experiencing them as well as others due to increased recklessness and danger seeking symptoms.

Symptoms 

Manic Episodes (lasts one week and presents nearly every day)

  • Elevated, expansive and irritable mood

  • Increased energy/activity

  • Inflated self-esteem

  • Decreased need for sleep

  • Flight of ideas

  • Distractibility

Hypomanic Episode (lasts at least four days consecutively)

  • Inflated self-esteem,

  • Decreased need for sleep

  • More talkative than normal with pressure to keep talking

  • Flight of ideas

  • Distractibility

  • Increased goal activity

  • Excessive involvement in activities that increase the likely hood of painful consequences (sexual indiscretions, unrestrained buying sprees)

Major Depressive Episodes (present for at least two weeks): One symptom must be depressed mood OR loss of interest or pleasure.

  • Depressed mood for most of the day or nearly every day

  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities

  • Insomnia or hyperinosemia nearly every day

  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate

  • Fatigue or loss of energy, recurrent thoughts of death

  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate excessive guilt

  • Psychomotor agitation

  • Significant weight loss (without dieting) or weight gain

If an individual is diagnosed with bipolar one; seeking treatment with medication and therapy is crucial. This disorder does not go away with time. It can either become more manageable or more detrimental to the overall health of the patient. If the manic episodes become more active they can turn into psychotic episodes. What this means is that the patient might begin experiencing delusions and may increase the likely hood of hospitalization.

Treatment

There are several different ways to treat bipolar one. Medications are really the main and most important aspect of treatment. This can include mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and antidepressants. Most of the time there is a need for multiple medications to suppress symptoms. Psychotherapy in conjunction with medication is the most beneficial combination for those with either bipolar type one or two.

Bipolar Two

Bipolar two is more the more docile creature when it comes to symptoms. This does not mean that it is a disorder that should be ignored, it just means that type two is easier to live with on or off medications. There are two main episodes that are needed to meet the diagnostic criteria. They include Hypomanic episodes and Major depressive episodes. However, bipolar two does not include any manic episodes.

Symptoms

Hypomanic Episode (lasts at least four consecutive days)

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity

  • Decreased need for sleep

  • Pressure to keep talking, overly talkative

  • Excessive activities that have a high likely hood of painful consequences

  • Distractibility

  • Increased goal activities OR psychomotor agitation

Major Depressive Episode (presents for at least two weeks): One symptom must be depressed mood OR loss of interest or pleasure.

  • Depressed mood for most of the day or nearly every day

  • Diminished interest or pleasure in activities

  • Significant weight loss (without dieting) or weight gain

  • Insomnia or hyperinosemia nearly every day

  • Fatigue or loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

  • Recurrent thoughts of death

  • Psychomotor agitation

  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate

The same treatment is recommended for bipolar two as with bipolar one. However, the severity of bipolar two dictates how much medication is needed or if it is needed at all. This depends on the type of psychologist and psychiatrist you are dealing with. In some cases, therapy is all that is needed but the disorder must be monitored very closely.

Cyclothymic Disorder

This disorder is closely related to both bipolar one and two. Cyclothymia is recognized as a mood disorder and is unique because it is a disorder that requires at least two years of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms.

During the two-year period, the hypomanic and depressive symptoms must be present for at least half the time and the individual must not be without symptoms for greater than two months. This means that if the individual has no symptoms for at least two months they are disqualified from having Cyclothymia.   

Treatment is easiest when it comes to this disorder. Medication is rarely used due to the lack of aggressive highs and lows. Therapy is most beneficial to the individual and their mental health.

When receiving regular treatment and engaging with the correct healthcare professionals; a full and happy life is waiting for you. Life does not have to end with the diagnosis of any disorder. A mental health disorder is just another facet of an individual’s personality and it too can bring multiple advantages to the table.  As always consult a mental health professional if you experience any symptoms mentioned in this article. 

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