Bipolar disorder 1 vs 2, which is worse? There is a common misconception that bipolar 2 is a milder form of bipolar 1 and therefore probably less of a problem. This can lead to people feeling as though they don’t need to get treatment if they have bipolar disorder. In this video I give you the definitions of bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 disorders.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that has two states. Depressive episodes and manic or hypomanic episodes. Manic episodes are defined as the following according to the diagnostic and statistical manual fifth edition
A period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy, lasting at least 1 week and present most of the day, nearly every day.
And then you have 3 of the following: or 4 if your mood is irritable instead of elevated
1. Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity.
2. Decreased need for sleep
3. More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking.
4. Flight of ideas or racing thoughts
6. Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation
7. Excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).
Hypomania is the same thing has the same symptoms except that they only need to last for four days. Also a second main difference with hypomania is that the symptoms don’t cause real impairment in your functioning.
The reason bipolar 2 is not really a milder form of bipolar 1 is because people with bipolar 2 disorder tend to have a more chronic course to their illness. They tend to spend more time depressed than people with bipolar 1.
So bipolar 1 may be more intense, but bipolar 2 can be more chronic and persistent. Also the number of lifetime episodes of hypomania and depression tends to be more for bipolar 2 disorder than for bipolar 1 disorder or major depression.
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