What is Bipolar 2?

What is Bipolar 2? 

Bipolar disorder is something some of our patients struggle with every day. We don’t know for sure  what the cause is, but some of the issues connected to bipolar disorder are a family history of mental  illness, a history of trauma, or unusual brain structures. The usual age of onset is one’s mid-twenties, but  bipolar disorder has been known to manifest in children. There is no connection to one’s sex. According  to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 2.8% of the population of the United States is  diagnosed with bipolar disorder and of those, about 83% of cases are considered severe. These are  alarming numbers, as these only cover those who are formally diagnosed. We feel comfortable  assuming that there are many more who will not be diagnosed but will suffer the effects of bipolar  disorder of any kind.  

How is Bipolar 2 different from Bipolar 1? In general, Bipolar 1 is characterized with severe and lasting  episodes of mania and shorter, less severe periods of depression. Bipolar 2 is characterized with periods  of less severe mania, called hypomania, that usually do not last as long. With Bipolar 2, the depressive  periods can be longer and more severe. Something particularly insidious about Bipolar 2 is that  sufferers often have a hard time returning to their usual functioning level after a depressive episode,  and this difficulty returning to “normal” can last longer over time.  

These are some classic symptoms of Bipolar 2:  

At least one hypomanic episode, but no mania 

No delusions or hallucinations in the hypomania phases  

Bipolar 2 always comes with depressive episodes 

Fatigue and sleeping too much 

Changes in appetite and weight  

Feelings of shame 

Feelings of despair 

Difficulty focusing  

Suicidal ideation  

Lack of interest in daily activities and/or hobbies 

Withdrawal from other people  

Both manic and depressive episodes negatively impact a person’s quality of life. A mere inconvenience  one day can be a life-ruiner the next. Bipolar disorder has affected many a relationship, a job, an inner  life. If we can help a patient reach a happier place in life, we will do all we can to accomplish that.  Contact us on our website or call (585) 442-6960 with more questions or to schedule an appointment.