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Bipolar II Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment

Bipolar II Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment

Bipolar II disorder is a version of bipolar disorder, and is characterized by high mood swings. Here's more on its symptoms and treatment options.
Swapnil Srivastava
It is very important to have a healthy mind and body in order to live a normal, productive, and healthy life. Disorders related to the mind are often considered as minor anxiety pangs. But in the long run, they may even prove to be fatal. A dysfunctional brain can surely affect one's way of living, and leave a negative impact on people close to him/her. Bipolar II disorder is a form of mental illness with large mood and energy swings. It is a version of bipolar disorder, however, unlike bipolar I disorder, the mood swings never reach full-on mania. Most people suffer from episodes of depression, and have a history of one or more hypomanic episodes. Many people live their lives normally, between these episodes.

The major difference between bipolar I and bipolar II is that, in case of the former, the patient faces hypomanic but not manic episodes. Also, bipolar II, by definition, cannot have psychotic features like delusions and hallucinations. A person suffering from this kind of disorder does not have control over his moods, and might feel excessively happy or depressed for no reason at all.

Following are its major symptoms:
  • One or More Major Depressive Episodes: These episodes include persistent feeling of sadness, anxiety, anger, isolation or hopelessness. It may also result in irregular sleeping and eating habits. The symptoms of depressive episodes are generally self-loathing, apathy or indifference, loss of interest in sexual activity, shyness or social anxiety, and chronic pain.
  • One or More Hypomanic Episodes: Mania generally result in a distinct period of an elevated or irritable mood state. A person suffering from mania has low attention spans, and his judgment may become illogical and impaired. He might also indulge in drugs and substance abuse like alcohol or other depressants, cocaine or sleeping pills, and become aggressive, intolerant or intrusive. Many people in the state of mania or hypomania, experience severe anxiety pangs and are very irritable. Hypomania refers to a mild to moderate level of mania. It is generally characterized by optimism, pressure of activities, and decreased need for sleep. Some people get highly creative in the state of hypomania, while others show poor judgment and irritability. They may also demonstrate high levels of energy, and may often deny the fact that they are sick.
Medications, in the form of mood stabilizers, have shown positive effects on the patients of bipolar II disorder. Non-medication therapies like interpersonal therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, light therapy, and family-focused therapy, are also used by doctors in order to cure the disease. These therapies help one to cope up with the illness through different methods. For a person suffering from this disorder, it is important that his family and friends provide support and help for his full recovery. They help in providing an emotional support to patients, which is very necessary, and can lead to quick recovery.

The disorder makes a patient very pessimistic, and there are several cases of severe forms, where the disorder can probe him to commit suicide. It is very important that the problem is detected early by recognizing the signs and symptoms, so that timely treatment can be given to prevent it from becoming worse. This is a long-term illness, which requires constant long-term medical supervision and family support.