What I Wish People Knew About Bipolar II Disorder
When you hear about bipolar disorder, you might think about the “highs and lows” associated with mania and the depression However, what many people might not know is that there are different types of bipolar disorder. Although the most well-known type of bipolar disorder is bipolar I, another type is bipolar II. I was diagnosed with bipolar II my sophomore year of college after living with a diagnosis of depression for many of my teenage years. This disorder can often be misdiagnosed because it has many of the same characteristics of other disorders.
Bipolar II is different than bipolar I in a few important ways. In my own experience, intense and explosive irritability manifested instead of the typical manic episodes. Instead of mania, a person with bipolar II might experience “hypomania.” In other words, the elevated moods almost never reach full-blown mania and cause less impairment. Symptoms of hypomania are often very similar to mania and can include: heightened confidence, racing thoughts and ideas, rapid and loud speech, increased energy, decreased need for sleep, increased sex drive, recklessness, impulsive behavior and intense irritability.