A mental illness that is characterized by uncontrollable mood swings that dips from highs to lows is Bipolar II. There are four different classifications of bipolar and Bipolar II is slightly more common than Bipolar I. Onset for Bipolar II usually appears around the age of 21 with a higher frequency in women as opposed to men.
Bipolar II is actually less severe because the highs are not as extreme. Psychosis is not correlated with Bipolar II and the period of mania that it entails is commonly called hypomania which is distinctive of only type 2 bipolar disorder. Hypomania signifies that a person with this condition has not been affected in their quality of life and that it is less-resolute than the highs and lows that occur in Bipolar I cases. During hypomania, the manic high is elevated above normal behavior, but not quite as fierce as a full on manic episode.
To be diagnosed with Bipolar II, the medical definition states that patients must have encountered one stint of major depression, as well one stint of hypomania that lasts for at least 4 days. Patients typically feel the depressive symptoms daily, especially on the days that they do not experience hypomania. For this reason, Bipolar II is more difficult to detect in some patients because they are often seen as high-functioning, or they are just accepted with their “manic” personality characteristics, which they seem to be unaware of. Often patients will only get diagnosed with depression because the depressive symptoms are much more of a struggle than the hypomania.
Bipolar II looks to have three or more of these symptoms of hypomania.
- Big Ego
- Dashing ideas
- Easily Distracted
- Engaging in actions with damaging consequences
- Harmful activities
- Psychomotor agitation
- Racing thoughts
Bipolar II look to have 5 or more of these symptoms of depression.
- Daily depressive mood
- Excessive weight loss
- Loss of energy
- Loss of interest in daily living
- Poor concentration
- Psychomotor agitation
- Suicidal thoughts
- Suicide ideation
Persons with Bipolar II tend to have higher rates of having an anxiety disorder in dealing with stress and social situations, an eating disorder, a phobia, or a substance abuse disorder. The statistics show that Bipolar II is more susceptible to being genetically passed down, more so than Bipolar I. 27 percent of patients have first-degree family members that have already been diagnosed with Bipolar II, rather than 16 percent with Bipolar I patients. While Bipolar II may not be completely understood at this point, the numbers are rising with people that are being diagnosed with it.
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