Bipolar II. Type 2 Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar II disorder, or Type 2 bipolar disorder is diagnosed when the patient experiences hypo manic episodes rather than actual manic episodes, as well as at least one major depressive episode.

Patients with a Bipolar II diagnosis cannot, by definition, ever have had a full blown manic episode prior to their diagnosis. However, a Bipolar type 2 diagnosis is not a guarantee that they will not eventually suffer from such an episode in the future.

Hypo manic episodes do not go to the full extremes of mania (they do not usually cause severe social or occupational impairment, and are usually without psychosis), and this can make Bipolar type 2 more difficult to diagnose, since the hypo manic episodes may simply appear as a period of successful high productivity and is reported less frequently than a distressing, crippling depression.

Bipolar II disorder is also characterized by severe depressive episodes alternating with episodes of hypo mania. Bipolar depression may be difficult to distinguish from a unipolar major depressive episode.

Patients with bipolar depression tend to have extremely low energy, retarded mental and physical processes, and more extreme fatigue (for example, hypersomnia; a sleep disorder marked by a need for excessive sleep or sleepiness when awake) than unipolar depressives.

Cyclothymia refers to the cycling of hypo manic episodes with depression that does not reach major depressive proportions. One-third of patients with cyclothymia will develop bipolar I or II disorder later in life.

A phenomenon known as rapid cycling occurs in up to 20% of bipolar I and II patients. In rapid cycling, manic and depressive episodes must alternate frequently, at least four times in 12 months, to meet the diagnostic definition. In some cases of "ultra-rapid cycling," the patient may bounce between manic and depressive states several times within a 24-hour period. This condition is very hard to distinguish from mixed states.

Bipolar NOS is a category for bipolar states that do not clearly fit into the bipolar I, II, or cyclothymia diagnoses.

Again, bipolar disorder of any type is difficult to diagnose and treat. Your best weapon against bipolar disorder is to educate yourself as much as you can. You should be able to find most of the information you need right here on this website.

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