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What are the symptoms of bipolar II disorder?

The symptoms of bipolar II disorder are not that different from bipolar I. The presence of major depression is a condition of both bipolar I and II. However with bipolar II, the elevated mood symptoms which are referred to as hypomania are not as acute as those seen in mania. Hypomanic symptoms are generally the same as those listed under a manic episode (above), though they are present for four days or longer as opposed to one week. Additionally, occupational and social functioning are not as significantly impaired, nor does the individual require psychiatric hospitalization.
 
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Bipolar II disorder is diagnosed when you have alternating major depressive episodes and mildly manic or hypomanic episodes. A hypomanic episode is not as extreme as the full-blown manic episodes seen in people with bipolar I disorder. You may feel like the life of the party and everyone thinks you are on top of the world. You may feel chattier and like you’re moving at a mile a minute compared to your family and friends, but you won’t have psychotic symptoms, like losing touch with reality. You tend not to exhibit as risky or reckless behavior, and it is less likely that you will need to be hospitalized during these episodes.

The mania of bipolar II disorder is a mild form of mania, hypomania. The feelings of elation are periodically interrupted by sudden irritability, but the mood is generally very positive. The person with hypomania requires less sleep to be fully functional. Hospitalization for mania is not as necessary as it is for bipolar I disorder because the focus of hypomania is less about invincibility and risk taking and more on productivity.

The episodes of depression bipolar II disorder are severe; this form is called major depression. Extreme feelings of sadness and hopelessness lead a person to be a danger to themselves. While the depression is extreme, bipolar II disorder at least does not involve psychosis or delusions.

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Scott Stapp Receives a Special Thank-You
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.