By: Yael Berger
Bipolar, also known as manic depression, is a mood disorder characterized by extreme highs and extreme lows. Extreme highs are called mania while the extreme lows are called depression. It is seen in both adults and children and tends to run in the family. If you have a close relative with Bipolar disorder, you have an increased chance of developing the disorder. According to the national institute of mental health, “an estimated 4.4% of U.S adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives.” There are two different types of Bipolar that are often difficult to distinguish between.
Bipolar I patients commonly present with these symptoms:
- An episode of extreme mania lasting at least one week and usually an episode of severe depression lasting at least two weeks
- Mania is characterized by irritability, mood swings, and possibly excessive spending, drinking, excessive sexual behavior etc.
- Less need for sleep
- Increased self-esteem, speech, thoughts, distractibility
- Rapid mood swings
- Can have a break with reality
- Hallucinations, delusional or paranoid thoughts
- Usual onset: around 18 years old
Bipolar II patients commonly present with these symptoms:
- An episode of hypomania lasting at least four days and always accompanied by an episode of extreme depression lasting at least two weeks
- Hypomania is a milder form of mania but it is still noticeable to others
- Typically are prescribed antidepressants with mood stabilizers
- Usual onset: around mid-20s
There are a few key differences between bipolar I and bipolar II. The main difference is that Bipolar I often begins with mania while Bipolar II often begins as a depressive episode that is later diagnosed when an episode of hypomania occurs. Bipolar II is sometimes wrongly diagnosed as depression at first because it often starts as a depressive episode. Bipolar I is usually obvious and severely disrupts a patient’s life while Bipolar II can be less noticeable. However, once a hypomanic episode in Bipolar II patient causes severe impairment it would then be categorized as Bipolar I. Bipolar I can lead to hospitalization more often than Bipolar II because of the extreme mania that occurs. A combination of medication and therapy can help both Bipolar I and II.
If you or someone you know has any type of Bipolar Disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/