Bipolar Disorder Types

Published: February 6, 2012

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Bipolar I

People with bipolar I disorder can experience symptoms of varying levels. Some patients experience extreme manic episodes for a period of time followed by extreme depression for a long or short period of time. In the past, bipolar I disorder was known as manic depression.

Typically, patients experience depression for at least two weeks and then will display manic behavior for about one week. This pattern can cycle for an indefinite period of time, and many patients need to be hospitalized in order to keep symptoms under control.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Diminished memory
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Exhaustion
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive and irrational guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Social withdrawal

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Falsely high self-esteem
  • Dangerous behaviors
  • Drinking & doing drugs
  • Overeating
  • Acting without judgment
  • Spending excessive amounts of money
  • Loss of self control
  • Insomnia
  • Behaving promiscuously

Bipolar II

Patients with bipolar II disorder experience less severe mood swings and experience hypomania and depression. Symptoms of hypomania are milder symptoms of mania. People might experience mood swings for varying amounts of time at varying intensities. Most people with bipolar II disorder do not need to be hospitalized, although a large number of patients need medication, therapy, and long term treatment.

It is possible for people with bipolar II disorder to have a manic episode in the future. When bipolar II patients experience mania, it is difficult to diagnose and treat the symptoms effectively.

Cyclothymic

Patients with cyclothymia experience a very mild form of bipolar disorder. The symptoms for this condition are subtle, gradual, and may go without detection for a number of years. Cyclothymic patients rarely experience full-on mania, but they may experience hypomania. Even though symptoms of cyclothymia may be mild, doctors advise patients to seek out regular psychiatric treatment.

Mixed Bipolar

Patients of this disorder experience mania and depression at the same time. This dangerous combination of symptoms can cause racing thoughts, excessive energy, irritability, outbreaks of anger, and excessive guilt. People with mixed bipolar disorder have been known to act out violently and commit crimes.

Rapid Cycling

This form of bipolar disorder occurs when a patient experiences four or more episodes of depression, mania, or hypomania. Some patients experience severe alternating moods within a week or even a day. Rapid cycling is most common among teens, young adults, and women.

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